Nassau BOCES recommends closing Doshi STEM Center and arts school

Dr. Leena Doshi, who owns a chain of radiology centers, provided financial backing for the Center
Dr. Leena Doshi, who owns a chain of radiology centers, provided financial backing for the Center

MINEOLA (TIP): A news report published in Newsday  says Nassau BOCES officials are recommending closure of the Syosset complex that houses the 42-year-old Long Island High School for the Arts and the Doshi STEM Institute, opened just two years ago.

Newsday quoted Superintendent Robert Dillon as saying Tuesday, November 17 that  the recommendation, driven by low enrollments and funding shortages at both schools, is being made “with a heavy heart.”

Dillon, who took over the regional agency Sept. 1, told Newsday he will recommend the closing occurs in June, at the end of the current school year. The proposal is to be taken up by the Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services’ governing board at its meeting Thursday night.

Nassau BOCES considered canceling the programs in March, but agreed to extend them at least one more school year in response to families’ pleas.

Dillon voiced hope Tuesday that the Syosset shutdown would not bring a total end to the arts and STEM programs, saying there could be a “transition” of some popular classes, such as dance, to other school sites in Nassau County.

The Doshi STEM Institute, funded by the Doshi Foundation, opened in 2013 to provide specialized study in science research and related fields. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

The institute, funded by the Doshi Foundation, is named for financial backer Dr. Leena Doshi, who owns a chain of radiology centers. A woman who identified herself as Leena Doshi, reached at the family’s home Tuesday afternoon, declined to comment.

Nassau BOCES trustees, at their Sept. 28 meeting, approved a resolution authorizing the system’s attorney to bring a lawsuit against the Doshi Foundation to recover money owed to Nassau BOCES arising from the STEM program, according to minutes of the meeting posted online.

Nassau BOCES Deputy Superintendent Robert Hanna declined to comment Tuesday on the status of any legal action against the Doshi Foundation. He said, however, that the Doshi Foundation paid $150,000 one year and did not make additional promised payments.

The number of students in the Doshi STEM Institute increased from 20 students in 2013 to 48 students in 2014- 15, then dropped to 46 this school year. When the institute opened, the projected enrollment in the third year was 150 students.

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