Our freshmen have no idea why they are at the school. The culture of the school is withering on the vine.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Nearly all the appliances at the city’s lone culinary high school have been inoperable since June — leaving hundreds of deflated mini-Mario Batalis stuck reading cookbooks, The Post has learned.
Due to poor gas supply and other problems, ovens and ranges at Food and Finance HS in Hell’s Kitchen have been cold since DOE repair work this summer, and administrators are at their wit’s end, sources said.
With five of the school’s six kitchens unusable, increasingly uninterested students have been forced to learn their craft from dry classroom work rather than stovetop experience.
“430 kids can’t cook,” read a blistering e-mail Wednesday from Nan Shipley, chairwoman of the nonprofit group that supports the school, “Our seniors can’t train for culinary competition. Our freshmen have no idea why they are at the school. The culture of the school is withering on the vine.”
Catering mostly to low-income kids, Food and Finance is considered a model specialty public school, boasting an 88 percent graduation rate and 90 percent college and culinary-school admissions.
But in a flurry of desperate e-mails obtained by The Post, exasperated staffers said that their thriving operation has ground to an inexcusable halt.
In a group e-mail sent Wednesday, Principal Roger Turgeon said School Construction Authority officials have refused to directly address the matter and that building morale is starting to crater.
“What is amazing to me at this point is that everyone knows how this is affecting the education of my students and no one is stepping up,” Turgeon wrote in the missive.
A source told The Post appliances in the school’s six kitchens were all functioning before unrelated SCA work in June but have been inoperable ever since.
Turgeon’s e-mail said that he’s been met with evasions and buck-passing in his efforts to get the fires roaring. SCA officials are blaming faulty equipment — not their repair work — for the problem, the message said.
“Our students are being deprived their rights,” Shipley said in her e-mail. “It’s shameful what’s happening. We are victims of bureaucracy and petty finger pointing.”
The DOE told The Post that they’re working on the problem.