NYC Retreats on School Closure Plan

Friday, July 13, 2012

After a six-month battle to purge teachers and administrators at 24 low-performing schools, the Bloomberg administration retreated Wednesday and said the schools should plan for the return of the same employees in the fall.

The city still hopes to win an appeal that would allow it to close and immediately reopen the schools with largely new staffs. The schools had been placed on a state list of failing schools that made them eligible to compete for $58 million in federal grants.

But the Department of Education lost several legal rounds with teachers and principals unions, which called the closings an end-run around contractual seniority protections. The latest blow came Tuesday when a state judge denied the city's request to allow it to move forward with the plan pending the outcome of the legal case.

"I have a responsibility to open our schools, and open our schools in a way that allows our students to learn," schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Wednesday. "We have to operate under the principle that the staff who were at the school will be coming back."

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