Thursday, September 18, 2014

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City Puts 33 More Schools On Chopping Block

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Just weeks after deciding to close 23 low performing schools, the city on Monday filed paperwork to close 33 more. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

It wasn't just an idle threat. The Department of Education filed the final paperwork Monday evening, just shy of the deadline. Thirty-three schools are to close in June, and in September, new schools will replace them in the same buildings. Students will be automatically transferred to the new schools but as for the teachers, they have to reapply for their jobs and the city says no more than half will be rehired.

In the paperwork posted on the DOE website, the city argues it will be a quick-fix, adding, "New School will put in place a process aimed at hiring the best possible staff, thus immediately improving teacher quality and, by extension, improving the quality of learning.”

After Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this plan in January, the teachers union said it would take him to court if he went through with it. Now the union president says he's looking at his options.

"We will decide what actions we will take," said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.

The mayor had initially said this close-and-reopen plan was a bid to win back tens of millions in federal school improvement funds -- money the city lost on January 1 after it couldn't come up with a teacher evaluation deal with the union.

But recently, the mayor has said he's committed to removing half of the teachers at each school - more than 1,700 teachers in all - even if a teacher evaluation deal is in place. And that's now spelled out in each closure plan.

The city adds, "The DOE intends to proceed with this proposal regardless of whether School Improvement Grant funding is available."

"He is still moving forward with closing the schools and it has always been our belief that he always wanted to close those schools," Mulgrew said.

Now each school will have a public hearing, then they go before the Panel for Educational Policy, which has always backed the mayor's plans.

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