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City announces plans to close 11 district schools and 1 charter

City officials announced plans today to close 11 schools and said they will recommend that the state shutter a charter school for poor performance.

More school-closure notices will be handed down tomorrow when the city announces which of the remaining 44 schools on its endangered list will be phased-out. That list includes the 19 schools the city tried to close last year, but was barred by a union lawsuit, as well as others that were identified after progress reports for last year came out.

Officials said today that they will ask the state Board of Regents not to renew the charter for Ross Global Academy — the city’s lowest performing charter school. During the five years since it opened, Ross has gone through six principals.

City officials said they were already working on proposal for new schools to replace the ones they phase-out or close this year.

Of the eleven district schools named today, the city hopes to phase-out ten, meaning that next year they will keep their current students, but not enroll any more. One school, KAPPA II, will close at the end of this school year if the citywide school board, known as the Panel for Educational Policy, approves this proposal. Currently, it only has 36 sixth and seventh graders enrolled.

Some of the schools on the list off 55 will not be closed, but will undergo one of two school improvement strategies suggested by the federal government. The more invasive of these methods is the “turnaround” model, which calls for a school’s principal to be replaced and its teachers and administrators to reapply for their jobs. Only 50 percent can be rehired. If the city decides to use this method, it will have to work with the teachers and principals’ unions to form a side-agreement, allowing them to bend the contract to include these changes.

The other method is known as the “transformation” model, and it’s already being used by eleven city schools. The least severe of the government’s strategies, this model relies on removing a school’s principal, bringing in extra support services and experimenting with longer school days and new teacher training.

“Year after year, even as we provided extra help and support, these schools simply have not gotten the job done for children,” said Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg in a statement.

“These are tough decisions, but we cannot afford to let schools continue to fail students when we know we can do better,” he said.

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