New York Post
Science friction at city HS
School-construction honchos diverted funds earmarked for a much-needed high-school science lab to cover another project’s ballooning costs — putting the graduation of some seniors at risk, according to sources.
The maneuver blindsided officials at Food & Finance HS in Manhattan and left seniors facing shortages of required science-lab credits.
E-mails obtained by The Post show school leaders were told as recently as April that the science lab was funded and all set for renovation over the summer.
It wasn’t until June that officials learned the money had been rerouted to a longdelayed rooftop greenhouse in the same building.
“Our chemistry lab, which had been in the works for years, was suddenly canceled. This has put our students in jeopardy,” Principal Roger Turgeon wrote on July 7 to School Construction Authority officials.
“The funds we had originally received . . . were specifically earmarked for a chemistry lab,” Turgeon added. “Who authorized the funds be used for an- other project?”
Records show that former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn allocated $800,000 toward the lab in 2012, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer recently provided $200,000.
But the SCA quietly shifted most of that funding toward the greenhouse, an endeavor with Cornell University that’s $1.2 million over its $2 million budget.
DOE officials say the SCA followed protocol for diverting money, which only requires approval from the City Council.