By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Mayor’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) voted to phase out or close 22 schools – 8 in Brooklyn -- at a raucous meeting at Brooklyn Tech High School Monday night.
The meeting lasted more than seven hours, attendees said, after more than 50 speakers beseeched the panel to end its policy of closing, rather than supporting, poorly performing schools. More than 150 schools have been shuttered under Mayor Bloomberg.
All seven of the Mayor’s appointees – a majority -- voted to go along with the closings, along with dozens of other proposals to open, combine and move schools.
A resolution to support a moratorium on school closures and co-locations was brought by panel members appointed by the borough presidents who called the agenda of proposals “excessive and out of control,” according to the Gotham Schools blog. These PEP members include Patrick Sullivan from Manhattan; Kevin Diamond, representing Brooklyn; Robert Powell of the Bronx; and Dmytro Fedkowskyj of Queens.
Mayoral candidate and former city comptroller Bill Thompson also spoke in favor of the moratorium, calling for “a comprehensive review of public schools before they’re closed.” Thompson said in a statement, “For more than a decade, Mayor Bloomberg has prioritized closing schools over improving them. The policy continues to fail New York’s students and it must end now."
The Youth Urban Collective estimated that more than 65,000 students could be affected by the policy of shuttering low-performing schools.
In Brooklyn, schools slated to phase out include P.S. 167 The Parkway; J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin; P.S. 174 Dumont; J.H.S. 302 Rafael Cordero School; Sheepshead Bay High School; P.S. 73 Thomas S. Boyland; General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science. In addition, Freedom Academy High School will close in June.
New schools will open or expand in many of these buildings, with different teachers and staff.