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With turnaround plans detailed, city turns attention to hearings

The city filled out its slate of “turnaround” proposals just minutes before the legal deadline to propose school closures for next year.

After posting documents detailing 15 of the rapid overhaul plans last week, the city published the remaining 18 at about 11:20 p.m. Monday night. Monday was the six-month mark before the likely start of the 2012-2013 school year, so it was the legal deadline for the city to release “Education Impact Statements” for any schools it wants to close.

Under turnaround, the city will close and immediately reopen the schools after replacing half of their teachers and, in many cases, their principals. The city devised the plan in January to allow federal funds for struggling schools to continue flowing even without a city-union agreement on new teacher evaluations.

The statements detail exactly what the city is planning to do with the curriculum, career programs, and extracurricular options — sort of. In many cases, the city says only that it “may” close a program or introduce another one. For example, the impact statement for W. H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School says the city “is considering” cutting the apparel design and communication media programs. The new school, the statement says, “will explore” adding a sports medicine program. (The statement also strains to identify shortcomings with Maxwell, which received an A on its most recent city progress report.)

The statements are just the first step in a series of legal procedures that lay the groundwork for closure — and they don’t count for anything with the state, which must approve the plans if they are to receive federal funding. The city still has not submitted formal turnaround applications for State Education Commissioner John King to consider.

King has called the plans “approvable.” But the city has said — and reiterates in each of the impact statements — that it intends to go ahead with the closures even if the state does not sign off on the plans. Without federal funding attached to the closures, the schools would not have to replace a full half of their teachers — only to rehire at least half of the teachers who apply to stay on. And the city would be allowed to keep some of the principals who otherwise would have to be removed.

The next phase in the city’s closure process is a spree of public hearings at each of the affected schools in advance of the Panel for Educational Policy vote on the turnarounds planned for April 26. The hearings start March 28 and conclude April 19.

Each school’s hearing date is below. Hearings will take place at the schools at 6 p.m.

Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical High School: April 16 August Martin High School: April 16 Automotive High School: March 28 Banana Kelly High School: April 4 Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School: April 3 Bronx High School of Business: April 18 Bushwick Community High School: April 18 Cobble Hill School of American Studies: April 19 Flushing High School: April 18 Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology: March 30 Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School: April 17 Grover Cleveland High School: April 2 Harlem Renaissance High School: March 28 Herbert H. Lehman High School: April 2 High School of Graphic Communication Arts: April 3 I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey: April 4 I.S. 339: April 5 J.H.S. 80 Mosholu Parkway: April 16 J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin: April 4 John Adams High School: April 19 John Dewey High School: April 17 John Ericsson Middle School 126: March 28 Long Island City High School: April 17 M.S. 142 John Philip Sousa: April 19 Newtown High School: April 17 Richmond Hill High School: April 5 School for Global Studies: April 2 Sheepshead Bay High School: March 28 W. H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School: April 16 William Cullen Bryant High School: April 3 William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School: April 19