Harlem Arts School Supporters Rally to Keep It Open

Students and parents rallied alongside staff on Thursday at the Harlem School of the Arts, calling for a solution to keep the school open.

They also bashed the board of directors for keeping them in the dark about the severe financial straits facing the prominent school. Teachers and parents plan to hold another rally at the school on Saturday.

Nicole Hines, a 14-year-old who has been taking dance classes at the school for 10 years has started a Facebook group, "Save the Harlem School of the Arts." More than 600 members have signed up within a week.

"This has been my home for me since forever. School is a great place but this is has been where I can be myself, where I can feel confident," Hines says. "I just love the teachers here especially, because each individual teacher knows you."

There were separate meetings for teachers and parents yesterday. Teachers were officially informed that a one-week furlough, which was suddenly imposed at the end of last week, will be extended for an additional two weeks.

Board members say they need $500,000 to keep the school open through June. The board planned to announce a decision about the fate of the school yesterday. But it has put off that decision for two weeks.

The Harlem School for the Arts is a community institution that has offered music and art classes for 46 years.