Superintendent talks about future of East High

Updated: 03/19/2014 5:22 PM
Created: 03/18/2014 11:00 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

There is a lot of uncertainty for the Rochester City School District. The state says East High School is failing and has to make major changes or close for good. 

The options are:

- close the school and relocate the students
- phase out the school and replace it with an entirely new school
- enter into a contract with an Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) to take over administration of the school
- convert the school to a charter school
- allow SUNY to provide for the education of students at the school

The district has until April 30 to make a decision. The new plan needs to be in place by September. 

The state says East didn't improve enough in test scores and graduation rate. The superintendent says the biggest factor is attendance. On average, only 80 percent of the students at East High School show up every day. 

Dr. Bolgen Vargas, RCSD Superintendent, said, “You want to improve our schools? You have to improve the attendance.”

So who's to blame for that? The superintendent says everyone, including parents.

Vargas said, “Now it is the responsibility of the school and the school district to work on attendance, but everybody would agree with me that everybody plays a role.”

East High is a fixture on Main Street. Its graduates include musician Mitch Miller, basketball hall of famer Less Harrison, Super Bowl champion Roland Williams and Red Wings savior Morrie Silver. But now the East High we know is ending. 

Sherica Anderson, student, said, “I don't think the school should close because where are all these kids going to go?”

Ty’Asia Nelson, student, said, “Instead of closing, maybe they should do the second choice and change it up a little bit.”

Vargas wrote a letter to parents outlining the options and told them, “There is no option to delay, propose alternatives or continue business as usual.”

Anibal Soler, East High principal, said, “I think East is still a better place than it was five years ago when I took over. Ultimately, what we need to focus on is what East High looks like moving forward.”

Vargas promised that the building won't close and will always be called East High. The school just spent $70 million in renovations. 

Click here to read the letter from State Education to RCSD Superintendent Bolgan Vargas. 

Click here to read Superintendent Vargas' letter to parents of East High.

Superintendent Vargas is meeting with East High parents next Wednesday, March 26th. 

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