Boy’s Choir Rescued

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The Boys Choir of Harlem (BCH) will not be tossed out of its practice facility on Jan. 31 thanks to a new deal reached with the New York City public-school system and the efforts of Rep. Charles Rangel and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

Facing eviction from the Choir Academy of Harlem, the public school where it has rehearsed for the past several years, Rangel met privately with New York Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott in a plea to keep the choir at the school. 

Last week, the Dept. of Education asked the group to leave the facility after it failed to address  financial and leadership problems over the past 12 years. In addition, the choir also failed to find a replacement for its founder, Walter Turnbull, which it had agreed to do in 2004 after an investigation found he did not act on allegations that an employee had sexually abused a student.   

New York Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott announced Wednesday that "although the city would allow the choir to remain as an after-school activity, it must establish its administrative offices outside the school and repair its managerial and financial structure on its own," reports CNN.

After meeting with Rangel, Walcott expressed an interest in finding a solution to the BCH issue and wanting the group to succeed. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg administration claims that much of the 18,000 square feet - crucial space for the city's crowded school system - is not even being used by the choir.

"We continue to value our relationship with the Harlem Boys Choir, but the use of that space is desperately needed for the Harlem community," Walcott said.

According to Newsday, Dinkins is weighing the idea of stepping in as chairman of the BCH, and that the city should restore its faith in the group.

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