NEW YORK (AP) A growing number of tech schools are closing, leaving students without jobs and forcing parents to look for other ways to provide for their children.
The exodus of tech-focused high schools from New York’s public schools is raising questions about the future of the nation’s education system.
Many are facing the prospect of shutting down.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city has no plans to close schools.
He says the closures have caused an economic ripple, with job losses for some graduates and the cost of paying off debts.
The mayor says the state’s budget deficit has grown to more than $100 billion from $30 billion last year.
It has been a big blow to the struggling city, which relies on a $12 billion revenue stream from the state to keep its schools open.
About half of New York state’s 4.5 million public high school students are enrolled in technology schools.
New parents say the schools have provided a steady stream of jobs, but they have also left students with a host of other problems.
The city’s tech schools have long been viewed as a good investment for the city, but many of them are losing money as tech companies relocate their operations to other states.
They are struggling to keep up with demand for high school graduates, and some students are graduating with bachelor’s degrees from schools that are not tech-friendly.
One New York high school, Eastman School, is closing and closing again, said school spokesman Matt Zimbalist.
He said the school’s enrollment dropped 8 percent last year and that it has had to seek out alternative locations.
In 2014, the school shut down for a year to prepare for a merger with another school, Union Tech, which was founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
That was followed by a third-party school in the Bronx, a magnet school for gifted and talented students.
The closures are forcing families to scramble to find a new school for their kids, Zimblist said.
New technology school graduates who graduate in the fall are typically offered jobs in their field.
The number of jobs available in technology has dropped by about 25 percent from last year, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Many of those jobs are in the hospitality and technology industry, where graduates tend to have higher salaries than students in tech-intensive schools.
The industry is booming, and many tech companies, like Amazon, are looking for more people to work in their new fields.
But in New York, those jobs often pay below the minimum wage.
Tech-focused schools are struggling financially, with some losing millions of dollars each year.
At Eastman, for instance, the city spent $2.5 billion to upgrade its technology labs last year to meet the demands of the growing IT workforce, according a report by the city auditor.
At Union Tech last year its students earned a median salary of $50,933, about $18,000 below the city’s median for a similar-sized class.
At a Manhattan tech school with a similar enrollment, a student earned $62,500, according the city report.
“I don’t think that’s fair,” said David DeAngelo, who graduated from Union Tech with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
He and his wife are now struggling to pay off a student loan.
“It’s hard for us to find enough income to pay the loan,” he said.
The family has tried to get the money they need for their son to attend a tech school in Georgia, but the school has shut down, he said, and he has lost a lot of sleep over it.
His son is going to a tech college in California, but he is also struggling to find employment.
The New York schools that have closed are among several in the country, including some in California.
About a dozen tech schools closed last year in California and four others in Illinois, according and a report from the New York State Education Department.
New Orleans, Louisiana, had the most closed schools, with about 3,400.
The remaining campuses are in Massachusetts, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland.
In some cases, tech schools shut down to try to make up for their loss in students and teachers.
New Tech Academies, a New York school that was founded in 2014, was forced to close because it had about 1,400 students and about 70 teachers, according city records.
The school, which had about 300 students, had to lay off staff and shut down its facilities in the wake of the Great Recession, the records show.
It’s not clear whether students and school officials will be able to get back to their classes.
But some parents say they have little choice but to look elsewhere.
Many parents in the city have tried to sell their children to tech schools overseas, but often the schools are not offering the full range of jobs or programs that they might have, said Sarah Moulton-Mellor, a spokeswoman for the school district.
“If we don’t have any