Parents and students save schools from closure in Far Rockaway and Upper Manhattan

Posted: 3:13 PM, Mar 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-01 16:12:15-05

The chant was "Save Our Schools" and it worked.

More than one hundred parents and students lined up to speak up about school closures in New York City at a meeting of the governing board for the New York City Department of Education..

The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evening in Lower Manhattan.

New York City Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) voted around 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning on the package of "school realignments."

The closure of P.S./M.S. 42 and M.S. 53 in Far Rockaway was not approved. That measure  was voted down by a vote of six to six with one abstention.

The closure of High School for Health Careers and Sciences in Washington Heights was postponed. These locations could come up at another monthly PEP Meeting.

21 other schools were approved for consolidation or closure. Information on other locations can be found here .

Parents and students say they will continue fighting for their school. NYC Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island) is the new chairperson of the NYC Council Education Committee. He says the DOE is presenting "a conflict of expectations."

When proposals are approved, the DOE says it works with each family to place students at a higher-performing school.

"The decision to close a school is always made in the best interests of students and after a careful review of several factors, including graduation rates, test scores, attendance, enrollment, classroom instruction, leadership and a school's overall trajectory," says NYC DOE Spokesperson Michael Aciman.

The panel is made up of 13 members appointed by the mayor and borough president. They meet monthly to vote on policy and closures, consolidations and mergers.

The meeting highlighted some community concerns with locations that have been designated as "renewal schools."

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez issued a joint statement that said "the label has stigmatized this and other schools in the program."

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said, "The school communities are clearly vested in their success, as exemplified in both the recent progress in academic performance and the level of engagement by the parents, teachers and students to save their schools."