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Black leaders seek delay in Schenley decision

By Bill Zlatos
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A group of black community leaders is urging the city school board tonight to postpone or vote against a proposal to move students from Schenley High School in Oakland.

In a letter dated today to board members, the Black Political Empowerment Project or B-PEP urged the board to reconsider Superintendent Mark Roosevelt’s proposed closing of Schenley. Roosevelt wants to close the school because of the estimated $64.3 million cost of removing asbestos and upgrading the building.

Under Roosevelt’s plan, to be voted on today, the district would close Schenley and move students this fall while it decides whether to shut the school down permanently or renovate it. As a result, the board is considering the following actions:

* Relocating Schenley students who would be in grades 10 through 12 to now-closed Reizenstein in East Liberty; * Shifting 174 students in the robotics technology program at Schenley to Peabody High School in East Liberty: and * Sending ninth graders who live in Schenley’s feeder pattern to a proposed University Prep School at Milliones in the Hill District.

B-PEP Chairman Tim Stevens recommended hold off on moving the Schenley students until the district develops a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of the nine high schools that did not meet federal academic standards.

Bill Zlatos can be reached at or 412-320-7828.

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