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DOE Begins To Consider Closing 20 More Public Schools

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Department of Education officials say they have started "engagement" conversations with 20 struggling schools, which means they are considering closing these schools down for good. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Only a few weeks into the school year, 20 public schools have been put on notice: this year may be their last.

Just days after releasing annual progress report grades, the DOE has announced which elementary and middle schools may be closed for poor performance.

Half are middle schools, half are elementary schools and all have very low test scores.

They cover all five boroughs, but almost two-thirds of the schools are in Brooklyn.

Besides those 12, four are in the Bronx, two are in Queens, one is in Manhattan and one is in Staten Island.

Like many schools the DOE has closed, most are in low-income neighborhoods and serve a high percentage of struggling students.

The 20 schools have an average student poverty rate of 85 percent, and they collectively serve more than 600 homeless students.

The Brooklyn schools are all concentrated in the borough's northeastern neighborhoods of Clinton Hill, Crown Heights and Brownsville.

Test score results are grim: these schools averaged just a 20-percent passing rate on the state English exam and 27 percent in math.

The DOE usually replaces closed schools with new ones, just with different administrators and teachers, but the new schools can end up with the same problems.

That is what happened with at least two schools on this list. They opened in September 2008 to replace the failed P.S. 183. Now, after just three years, both the General D. Chappie James Elementary and Middle School may be closed.

In the Chappie Middle School, 90 percent of the students failed both the English and Math exams.

There is a long process for each school the DOE wants to close, including public hearings, responding to community comments and a vote by the Panel for Educational Policy.

Not all of these schools will necessarily make the final closure list, and a group of high schools will be added after those grades come out next month. But the wheels are in motion.

20 Schools In Danger Of Closing

MANHATTAN
P.S. 137 John L. Bernstein (District 1)

THE BRONX
P.S. 277 (District 7)
New Millennium Business Academy (District 9)
M.S. 142 John Philip Sousa (District 11)
Aspire Preparatory Middle School (District 11)

BROOKLYN
Satellite Three (District 13)
P.S. 256 Benjamin Banneker (District 13)
Knowledge And Power Preparatory (District 13)
P.S. 019 Roberto Clemente (District 14)
P.S. 022 (District 17)
P.S. 161 The Crown (District 17)
Middle School For The Arts (District 17)
I.S. 171 Abraham Lincoln (District 19)
P.S. 298 Dr. Betty Shabazz (District 23)
General D. Chappie James Elementary School (District 23)
General D. Chappie James Middle School (District 23)
J.H.S. 296 The Halsey School (District 32)

QUEENS
P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott (District 27)
P.S. 181 Brookfield (District 29)

STATEN ISLAND
P.S. 014 Cornelius Vanderbilt (District 31)

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