Friday, February 04, 2011

City panel votes to close 10 schools after five-and-a-half hours of testimony

Three cheers for the Panel for Educational Policy, which approved the location for the new Upper West Success Charter School:

After more than five-and-a-half hours of testimony from hundreds of speakers, a city panel voted early Wednesday morning to close 10 schools.

About 2,000 parents, students and teachers flooded the city Education Department's Panel for Educational Policy meeting about not only closing schools, but also about requiring existing buildings to share space with new schools.

In contrast to last year's closing vote, most of the crowd appeared to be charter school supporters, the majority from former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz's Success Academies, who arrived by the busloads and held signs calling for "Bold Fast Change."

The meeting was held in the Brooklyn Tech High School auditorium. A second meeting on closing another 13 schools will be held Thursday.

Like Monday, when about two dozen people were arrested protesting outside the Education Department's headquarters, tempers flared.

…The new locations for the charter school were approved by the panel.

"After months of public hearings and conversations with school communities, we can't afford to delay any further and deny parents high-quality options that they are demanding for their kids," said agency spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld in a statement.

"We take the specific concerns of elected officials, our parents, and other members of the public very seriously, and have already responded to these concerns directly."

A dozen Success Charter school students took to the microphone to support their schools.

"I need to make it to college and Harlem Success Academy is helping me get there," said Faith Rodriguez, 10, a fifth-grader.


City panel votes to close 10 schools after five-and-a-half hours of testimony

Originally Published:Wednesday, February 2nd 2011, 4:00 AM

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