A “transfer school” in New York City is one that enrolls high school students—some in their early 20s—who have fallen far behind and need intensive support to graduate. The Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School is a transfer school. It has been a life-saver for students who would otherwise have dropped out. The school has a wonderful range of facilities: “the suite of services West Side has offered from its specially designed West 102nd Street building—equipped with a gym big enough for Public School Athletic League play, a working kitchen for cooking classes, a health clinic, a childcare center and a youth employment program—can be transformative.

Unfortunately for the West Side High School, another school wants its building. The Young Women’s Leadership Academy wants a swap. As journalist Liz Rosenberg reports, the students and teachers at West Side High School don’t want to move. The YWLA building is smaller and lacks the amenities of West Side High School.

But YWLA has some advantages. It was founded by Ann Tisch, who is part of the billionaire Tisch family, who are part of the ownership of the Loew’s Corporation.

Some West Side supporters question whether the Andrew H. and Ann R. Tisch Foundation’s support for the Young Women’s Leadership School, its backing of the Eagle Academy Foundation led by Banks until he was appointed by Mayor Eric Adams in 2022 and its working relationships with both city officials—is playing a role in the DOE’s plans.

There are six YWLA schools in the city, and more in other cities. Last year, their network received a gift of $7 million from McKenzie Scott. Over the past years, the Tisch Foundation gave $50,000 to the Eagle Academy schools run by now-Chancellor David Banks.

Will these cozy relationships encourage the City to mandate the building swap?

Or will the billionaire Tisch family use some of their assets to build or buy a suitable structure for their YWLA? It would also be a good use of MacKenzie Scott’s millions.

The 23-member Panel on Educational Policy will vote tomorrow night on the swap. Thirteen members of the Panel were appointed by the Mayor, as was Chancellor Banks.