Vote to close 19 underperforming NYC schools

NEW YORK After a nine hour meeting that went into the early hours of the morning, New York City's Panel for Education Policy voted to close more than a dozen underperforming schools.

The vote finally came out at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

"A voucher is not a reason to let a bunch of kids we know are not getting a good education to continue" Mayor Bloomberg said.

Mayor Bloomberg responded to criticism of the Department of Education's early morning decision to close 19 below grade schools.

It was bedlam mixed with democracy, as they voted in favor of shutting down the underperforming schools in New York City.

The Teachers' Union says it may challenge the school closings.

The jeering and hooting went on for hours as the Panel for Educational Policy went through the legally required public hearing.

Parents, teachers and students had packed the 3,000 seats at Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene.

The Teachers' Union even set up a jumbotron for the 1,000 people outside who couldn't squeeze in.

Many felt the hearing fell on deaf ears.

"It was a waste of our time and it was a joke. They were just appeasing the state law, doing what the state asked. But in reality, they weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing -- which is listening to us and really taking into consideration whether our schools should actually be closed or not," teacher Kellee Brownell said.

"As much as we poured out our hearts to them, they didn't care. They're going to care when that panel is broken up," said student Christopher Pertrillo.

Almost 350 speakers were registered to address the panel.

The five member panel appointed by the borough presidents voted to adjourn. But all eight members appointed by Mayor Bloomberg voted to continue.

They said the panel would hear all the public comments and then vote on the fate of the 19 schools, regardless of the hour.

"If the strategy of New York City is to continue to close schools, then they're saying that their job is to make sure that schools fail. That is unacceptable," Teachers Union president Michael Mulgrew said.

"We know the schools we have phased out before and the schools that have replaced them have done significantly better," Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott said.

Schools will be phased out in every borough, except for Staten Island.

The schools are:

  • W.H. Maxwell CTE HS
  • Frederick Douglass Academy III Secondary School
  • Academy of Environmental Science
  • School for Community Research and Learning
  • Global Enterprise High School
  • Beach Channel HS
  • Christopher Columbus HS
  • Robeson HS Bus & Tech
  • Jamaica HS
  • Choir Academy of Harlem
  • Norman Thomas HS
  • Kappa IIPPA
  • Metropolitan Corporate Academy
  • Middle School For Academic and Social Excellence
  • PS 332 Charles H Houston
  • New Day Academy
  • Academy of Collaborative Education
  • Business, Computer Applications and Entrepreneursh
  • Monroe Academy for Business/Law

    New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says since 2003, 91 schools have been phased out and 335 new schools were created.

    High schools citywide graduate 60-percent of students, while the new high schools graduate 75-percent.

    Eyewitness News and will continue to follow the developments and bring you new information tonight beginning on Eyewitness News at 5:00 p.m.

    We will also have our special "In Your Neighborhood," focusing on education. For more information on tonight's 5:30 special, click here.

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