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Schools slated to be closed
- MS 45/STARS Prep Academy, Manhattan
- Freedom Academy HS, Brooklyn
Schools slated for phaseout
- HS of Graphic Communication Arts
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- JHS 13
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Schools slated to lose middle grades
- Academy for Social Action, Manhattan
- PS 156, Queens
Mayor Bloomberg on Jan. 7 and 8 announced plans to close or phase out 26 schools, many with high concentrations of high-need students.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew charged that the mayor was once again turning his back on the city’s children and teachers as he pursues a failed strategy. He promised the union’s full support for the targeted schools in their fights to remain open.
“It’s sad that this administration takes pride in closing schools rather than helping them to succeed,” Mulgrew said. “The suggestion that the DOE has provided ‘comprehensive supports’ to the struggling schools on this list is absurd.”
The new list brings to 166 the schools that the mayor has put on the chopping block since 2002.
Most schools on the list would phase out over time, but the mayor wants to close two schools, Freedom Academy HS in Brooklyn and MS 45/STARS Prep Academy in East Harlem, outright. The plan is for both PS 156 in Laurelton and the Academy for Social Action in Manhattan to lose their middle grades.
This year, eight of the 26 schools are elementary schools, a larger share than in the past.
Three of the schools newly targeted for closure were opened by the Bloomberg administration: General D. Chappie James MS of Science in Brooklyn, the Academy for Social Action in Manhattan and the Performance School in the Bronx.
District 23 Representative Ualin Smith said staff at the Chappie James middle school was outraged at news that the mayor was targeting the school. The elementary school with which they share a building is in its first year of phaseout.
“Give adequate resources and some time to this school, and it can succeed,” Smith said.
The UFT has managed to discredit the Department of Education’s school-closing policies in a series of court victories. In 2010, a judge ruled the Panel for Educational Policy’s vote to close 19 schools null and void because the DOE had ignored a state law requiring community input in closing decisions. Last year, the city’s efforts to close 24 schools in June and reopen them in September in a “turnaround” strategy ended after the arbitrator ruled that the process violated the union contract.
The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the proposals at its March meeting, after a series of public hearings. The majority of panel members are appointed by the mayor, and the panel has never rejected a city proposal.
The 26 schools on the chopping block were selected from 62 on the DOE’s short list for closure.