BPS Votes To Close 9 Schools

By Andrea Smardon

Dec.16, 2010

BOSTON -- Nine Boston schools are slated to close this fall -- while an additional eight are set to merge.

Amid jeering and booing from angry parents, teachers and students, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve superintendent Carol Johnson’s proposal to consolidate school resources through closures and mergers.
Johnson said the cuts were necessary to streamline and improve the district. “Tonight we’re asking the school committee to another hard vote of many that will put our children on the path to longterm success. These are not easy choices, and none of us is happy to find ourselves in this position,”Johnson said, before she was interrupted by jeers from the audience.

Before the final vote, Chairman Gregory Groover expressed his support for the superintendent’s leadership.     

“Nobody wants their schools closed, however we need to make tough decisions based on recommendations from our superintendent who we recruited, who we believe if given the opportunity can turn this district around.”  
Seventy people signed up to testify, almost all of whom opposed to the proposal. 

Before the vote, two committee members proposed amendments what would pospone certain parts of the plan. Claudio Martinez proposed an amendment to postpone the merger of the Dante Alighieri Elementary School with the Mario Umana Middle School.  Martinez wanted more time to look at how charter school competition in East Boston will impact enrollment.

John Barros also introduced an amendment to postpone the closure of the Emerson Elementary School to examine the possibility of merging with another school. Neither amendment was approved by the committee. 
The students in closed schools must apply for a new school in early January.  The district is providing workshops next week to inform families about their options.  

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