P.S. 25, A Brooklyn Elementary School with Just 82 Students, Will Remain Open

P.S. 25, A Brooklyn Elementary School with Just 82 Students, Will Remain Open

The city reversed its plan to shutter the school after advocates argued students are performing too well to justify closure.

P.S. 25 Eubie Blake School is home to only 82 students and costs $50,000 per child to operate. Virtually every student comes from a low-income family, according to city data. And yet 70% of P.S. 25 students are proficient in math, and half are proficient in reading–performing above the city average. This is the reason, parents and advocates argued against the city, that closing P.S. 25 would be a mistake. After a yearlong battle, the city decided on May 16 that the little Brooklyn "elementary school that could" will stay open.

The city’s education department can usually close schools without the approval of local parent councils. But since councils decide how school zones are drawn, and P.S. 25 is the only school available to a large portion of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the council argued that the city didn’t have legal authority to close it. The move to close, which has been on hold since last summer, when a judge ordered the education department to keep P.S. 25 open, violated one of parent councils’ few real powers.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza chose to keep P.S. 25 open after reviewing the situation and “listening closely to District 16 parents,” education department spokesman Doug Cohen wrote in an email, according to Chalkbeat.

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The school’s enrollment fell from 102 students to 82 for this year. Keeping doors open and offering a full range of programs is more difficult than at large schools where maintenance costs less per student. 92% of students are black or Hispanic.

But Eubie Blake is in the 83rd percentile and is one of the best-performing schools in District 16.

“The school is doing extremely well for an extremely high-need school population,” said Leonie Haimson, executive director of the advocacy group Class Size Matters, who has pushed to keep P.S. 25 open.

What’s surprising is that the local education council in this case originally supported the plan to close the school in 2017. However, the District 16 parent council president, NeQuan McLean, said the council now supports the decision to keep the school open. According to Chalkbeat, McLean said the change of heart was due to assurances from department officials that they would assist with a plan to help attract families to the school and support other schools in the district.

“This gives P.S. 25 clarity and stability moving forward," Doug Cohen said. "We’re excited to continue our work with the school to support a high-quality and sustainable learning environment."