10 Bronx schools to shut down

Here come the feds, there go the teachers.

Students at ten Bronx schools judged as under-performing and put on the chopping block by the Panel for Educational Policy will be guaranteed a spot in the new schools in the fall.

And it may be bye-bye to at least half the current teachers there, re-assigned as substitute teachers with no permanent assignment.

Transferring the teachers out is part of the requirement to qualify for federal turnaround funding of up to $1.8 million per school to implement major academic changes.

Schools that will close forever and reopen with new names in the fall are:

Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical High School at 333 E. 151 St.; Banana Kelly High School at 965 Longwood Ave.; Junior High School 22 at 270 E. 167 St.; I.S. 339 at 1600 Webster Ave.; Bronx High School of Business at 240 E. 172nd St.; Junior High School 80 at 149 E. Mosholu Parkway North; M.S. 391 at 2225 Webster Ave.; Fordham Leadership Academy at 500 Fordham Road; Junior High School 142 at 3750 Baychester Ave., and Lehman High School at 3000 E. Tremont Avenue.

Teachers with a least two years experience who are not rehired when the new schools open will be placed into a substitute teacher pool and will have about the same salary and benefit package, said United Federation of Teachers spokesperson Richard Riley.

Even though federal turnaround requirements call for a quota of at least 50% of teachers to be replaced, no guidelines have yet been given to principals by the DOE on the rehiring process as of press time, Riley stated.

Some of the schools previously had a tradition of excellence, such as JHS 80, which taught Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Penny Marshall, and Rob Reiner, but which Councilman Oliver Koppell, who sits on the city council’s education committee, said had been struggling as of late.

“I cannot comment on the other schools, as I am not familiar with their history,” he said. “However, if their records are similar to JHS 80’s, it is in the best interests of the students to have a fresh start with what will hopefully be an improved administration and staff.”

The decision to close the Bronx schools along with 14 others across the city was made in an 8-4 vote April 26 by the panel, meeting in Brooklyn. The majority of its members were appointed by Mayor Bloomberg.

School’s Chancellor Dennis Walcott, in a recent op-ed in the NY Daily News, wrote that while many local communities may have attachments to the names and histories of a particular school, efforts by the United Federation of Teachers and others to halt progress will not stop the DOE from designing new schools that improve educational options and graduation rates.

“In many cases, we create a new school by replacing one that has consistently failed our students,” Walcott wrote. “These are difficult decisions for us and for school communities, which many feel an attachment to the school’s name and history. But when a new school works well in the same building – providing a brand-new option, without displacing students – the response of the parents and students is overwhelmingly positive.”

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