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Court Upholds Last Year's Decision To Block City School Closures

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A state appellate court on Thursday reaffirmed a decision that stopped the city from closing 24 struggling public schools last year.

The city's teachers union had objected to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's unprecedented plan, which would have forced all 3,000 faculty and administrators from those schools to reapply for their jobs.

Last year, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the union, saying the city would be violating teacher contracts and the schools should remain open.

The city Department Of Education appealed the decision, as the schools were ranked in the bottom 5 percent statewide, but the state Supreme Court upheld the arbitrator's decision.

The appellate panel also ruled against the Bloomberg administration Thursday, calling one of the key city arguments "unpersuasive."

DOE officials say they will not appeal the ruling, as they already followed the arbitrator's orders and kept the schools open. They also say it was "in students' best interest to close these seriously underperforming schools."

They continue, "Education is one of this administration's key priorities, and we're focused on opening competitive, challenging new schools in the fall."

That is likely to draw new tangles with the United Federation of Teachers. The president of the teachers' union, Michael Mulgrew, called Bloomberg "wrong" seven times during a 90-second interview on Thursday.

"They've all said the mayor was wrong in what he tried to do. So I hope he can get past that, and actually try to do some good with these schools before he leaves office," Mulgrew said.

Bloomberg has said that is exactly what he's trying to do, with the union getting in his way.

After previous losses, Bloomberg let his disappointment show. Back in July 2012, he remarked, "We will do everything, with God as my witness. I will not walk away from those kids."

But with Bloomberg leaving office in a bit more than half a year, those failing schools could be left to his successor.

Public Schools Spared Closure In 2012

Bronx (10 schools):
• Herbert H Lehman High School
• Banana Kelly High School
• JHS 22 Jordan L Mott (middle school)
• IS 339 (middle school)
• MS 391 (middle school)
• Bronx High School of Business
• JHS 80 Mosholu Parkway (middle school)
• Alfred E Smith Career-Tech High School
• Fordham Leadership Academy (high school)
• JHS 142 John Philip Sousa (middle school)

Brooklyn (5 schools):
• John Ericsson Middle School 126
• Automotive High School
• JHS 166 George Gershwin (middle school)
• John Dewey High School
• Sheepshead Bay High School

Queens (7 schools):
• Flushing High School
• William Cullen Bryant High School
• Long Island City High School
• Newtown High School
• August Martin High School
• Richmond Hill High School
• John Adams High School
• Grover Cleveland High School

Manhattan (2 schools):
• Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School
• High School of Graphic Communication Arts

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