BRONX - The Alfred. E. Smith Career Technology H.S. could shut down its plumbing, electrical and construction departments due to poor graduation rates leaving area students without these trade programs.

The school is the only one in the Bronx that teaches trade skills. Many local business owners said they often hire graduates from the school for highly skilled work.

Electrical company owner Jeffrey Smalls is fighting to save the programs. He has proposed a reworking of the curriculum to improve student performance and lower dropout rates.

A public hearing on the fate of the school will be held before the decision to close is presented to the Department of Education in late February.

If the school is closed, current students will be allowed to graduate. The DOE plans to house two new schools in the building and will also keep the mechanical program open.