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Three Syracuse schools face independent receivership after failing to improve

James F Clay

Three schools in the Syracuse City School District, that were designated as struggling by the New York State Education Department, have not made enough improvements and will be placed under an independent receiver, who will assume full managerial and operation authority of the schools. The school district has 60 days to come up with a plan.

Syracuse schools Superintendent Jaime Alicea said the district has not made a decision yet on whether to close the schools and reopen them under a new program, like it did with Fowler High School and Hughes Elementary School.

“It would give us the opportunity again to start all over with the kids, with the families, and give us the opportunity to develop a new program to support our kids in those buildings,” Alicea said.

Fowler High School was turned into the Public Service Leadership Academy and Hughes Elementary School was changed to Syracuse Latin Elementary.  

Alicea said the district has to work with parents, staff, the state education department and the Syracuse Teachers Association to put together a plan. Letters are going out to families in the three schools, which include Danforth Middle School, Dr. King Elementary School and Westside Academy at Blodgett.

“I want them to know that we continue to advocate for the kids and that it is very important for them to get engaged with us,” Alicea said. "It's a community engagement team that we have to put together to develop the plan." 

The district will submit that plan to the education commissioner for approval. Four other struggling schools in Syracuse did make demonstrable improvements this past school year.