The State Department of Education has ordered East High to either close or come under new management. This has to happen between now and September. The state says the school has failed to meet its requirements for academic progress over the last three years.
"It is very sad that it is still where it's at. At the end of the day we cannot be happy when you have a school that has a 41 percent graduation rate," Vargas said.
The district has five options to get things back on track: 1) close the school and send students somewhere else. 2) phase out the school and replace it with a new one. 3) enter into a contract with the Educational Partnership Organization to take over administration. 4) convert the school to a charter school. Or 5) allow SUNY to provide for the education of East High students.
"I have put one of these choices off the table for recommendation, and that is closing the school and sending the kids throughout the system," Vargas said.
Administrators, including East High School principal Anibal Solar, could be dismissed.
"Whether I'm the principal or not, I'll still be able to help the system out in a different capacity or in a different school, [should] I want to stay of course. I've been here five years. It's the only school I've been principal of. I'm very proud of the work we've done. I attended here myself. It's somewhat bittersweet," he said.
Solar plans to speak with his staff Thursday, encouraging them to finish the year strong.
"There's a lot of history in that building. There's a lot of pride, a lot of teachers that attended East High School. So you can't really rock the spirit of my staff. They are very strong. They're committed to the kids," he said.
The Rochester City School District must submit a plan to the state in six weeks.
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