Few Clouds 31° Good Evening
Few Clouds 31° Good Evening
Long IslandNassau

Hempstead district to host forum on school receivership issue

The Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in

The Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead, seen here on June 12, 2006, has been designated as a "struggling school" by New York state. Photo Credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress

The Hempstead school district will host a community forum Monday night where administrators will share "transformational plans" for the high school and the middle school after both were singled out by the state for poor performance.

The meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. in the high school's Little Theater.

The state Education Department announced Thursday that the two schools -- along with 142 others across New York -- would be placed in receivership under a state law passed this spring. Initially, that means the superintendent will be given broad authority and can make significant changes in staffing and curriculum without school board approval.

Board president Lamont Johnson said the meeting will focus on the receivership issue. He did not provide details.

Hempstead High School was categorized as "persistently struggling" for its failure to meet state and federal standards for at least a decade. Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School was listed as "struggling" for falling short of those benchmarks for three consecutive years.

Persistently struggling schools, which on Long Island include only Hempstead High, have a year to show improvement before being taken over by outside managers.

Struggling schools, which on the Island also include Ralph G. Reed Middle School in Central Islip, Roosevelt Middle School and Milton L. Olive Middle School in Wyandanch, have two years to boost performance before additional managerial steps are taken.

Diane Goins, chairwoman of the Long Island chapter of New York Communities for Change, said the persistently struggling and struggling designations are a black eye for the Hempstead district. The nonprofit advocacy group has worked for years to try to reshape the school board, and in the spring supported the candidacies of Maribel Touré and Gwendolyn Jackson, who were elected.

She questioned the wisdom of giving Superintendent Susan Johnson, who is not related to the board president, greater power.

"I don't think receivership is the way to go," she said. "We are trying to move forward. This is like a step backward."

The superintendent did not respond Friday to a request for comment.

The Education Department has scheduled a conference Wednesday and Thursday in Albany, where hundreds of local school officials and community representatives from districts across the state will get briefings on how receiverships are supposed to work.

Latest Long Island News