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Jack Abrams to reopen as magnet school

An empty swing hangs on a swingset at

An empty swing hangs on a swingset at the Jack Abrams School in Huntington station. (Sept. 9, 2010) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Huntington school officials announced plans Tuesday night to reopen the Jack Abrams School in Huntington Station in the fall as a science, technology, engineering and math -- or STEM -- magnet school.

District officials gave Superintendent James Polansky permission to proceed with reopening the school, which was shut down three years ago by the Huntington school board amid controversy over shootings in the area. The school will reopen for grades three, four and five, using about $240,000 in funds the district already has from other grants.

The school district is awaiting about $12 million in federal grant money for which it has applied, but it plans to reopen even if it does not receive the funding by the start of the school year.

"Our staff is excited about this, our community is excited about this, and I am looking forward to getting it started and working to make this program work as well as I think it will," Polansky said. "This is going to be a full-fledged district initiative."

He said the key components to reopening the school are curriculum and staffing, and both are in place. He said that for now, he will likely serve as the school's principal.

In March the board adopted a resolution to reopen the school this September, and Tuesday night's action, which did not require another vote, served as the green light.

Polansky said the district is waiting for three grants, the largest of which is $12 million, totaling about $18 million. All of the grant would be paid out over three years.

The decision on the grants is expected to come before Sept 30. Polansky said he is moving forward with the reopening because the key components are in place, coupled with enthusiasm from the community on the STEM program.

The school was closed in July 2010 after shootings in the area and community outcry.

"The school is going to reopen and that's exciting," school board member Xavier Palacios said after the decision to reopen.

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