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LocalEducationParents and teachers prepare to fight to keep Alfred E. Smith High School open

Parents and teachers prepare to fight to keep Alfred E. Smith High School open

Thursday, December 24th 2009, 4:00 AM

The warriors are on the warpath.

Parents and teachers at Alfred E. Smith High School are gearing up to fight a city Department of Education decision to shutter the vocational school for automotive and building trades.

The school is one of seven in the Bronx slated for closing because of low enrollment and substandard performance.

"We don't want this. The school doesn't want this. And we have success stories. Ninety percent of our graduates are in the building industry and, as a matter of fact, some helped build Yankee Stadium," said Principal Rene Cassanova.

"Data is data, but we want to be given an opportunity to show people what we do. We've made progress and we should be given an opportunity to continue that progress."

Parents will have a chance to voice their concerns at a public hearing Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. in the school auditorium. Those who wish to speak must sign up by 5:30 p.m.

"This is horrible," said Annette Williams, 50, whose daughter Idris is an 11th grader at Smith. "It's a great school. When my son was in eighth grade and I went to open house I cried because there were so many skills my son could learn there. These kids get jobs after graduation."

If Smith - whose mascot is a tiger, but whose teams are named the Warriors, - is closed, only current students can complete their education there.

"My son will be able to finish, but what about other kids who need this type of instruction?" added Williams, who is vice president of the Parent Teachers Association.

The proposed closings will be voted on Jan. 26 by the Panel for Educational Policy, a 13-person board comprised of eight mayoral appointees and five appointed by the borough presidents.

Sources said that although the board must still vote on the matter, it is likely that the schools will indeed close.

The six other Bronx schools slated for closure are the School for Community Research and Learning, Frederick Douglass Academy III Middle School, Christopher Columbus High School, Global Enterprise High School, New Day Academy, and Monroe Academy for Business and Law.

mjaccarino@nydailynews.com

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