Posts tagged "ged plus"
June 29, 2011
Things are looking grim for Alpha School.
Despite the East New York alternative program’s last-minute attempts to convince the state agency that it had made a wrong decision, Alpha School will not be funded by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services next year.
Until last week, the program’s director, Barry Addison, had been in talks with OASAS commissioners and had been told to “sit tight.” But yesterday an agency official called to tell Addison, or Mr. B, of their final decision not to restore funding.
“They said, well, a decision was made, and they had closed their budget gap partly with closing me down,” he said. “There was nothing left for me to say.”
One of the city’s GED Plus programs, Alpha School graduated 32 students with GED diplomas last week. It has also garnered widespread community support, from officers in Brooklyn’s 75th precinct and politicians like State Sen. John Sampson.
Mr. B says he’ll spend the summer trying to find private-sector funds to open the school’s doors again in six weeks.
“It’s not what I do, I just don’t know how to reach out to philanthropists,” he said. “But if I’m going to do anything, I have to reach out.”
June 24, 2011
Mr. B has a very full desk.
Mixed in with pens and paper clips are four knives, two packets of marijuana, and two shining gold bullets. The drawer behind that one is overflowing with bandanas: dozens and dozens of red, blue, pink, and orange gang flags that Mr. B has confiscated.
These are the souvenirs you accumulate running Alpha School, an alternative program in East New York where 17-21-year-olds can earn GEDs, get treatment for drug addiction, and find a place to hang out in peace.
As he hugs everyone who crosses his path, there’s clearly nowhere else Mr. B, whose full name is Barry Addison, would want to be. But the combination of state budget cuts and a dispute over Alpha’s enrollment figures means that, barring an eleventh-hour change, the program’s doors are closing in seven days.
He was notified in mid-May that the program is losing all of its $367,000 in annual funding from New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
“We’re toast,” he said. “It’s going to devastate a whole community. There’s no other prevention services in this neighborhood except for in the schools, and these are the kids who got kicked out of the schools.” (more…)