From the NY Times:
The Department of Education said Thursday that up to 47 city schools could face closure for poor performance this year, a huge increase from previous years if all remain on the chopping block. In the eight years since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has used school closures as a cornerstone of his school reform strategy, a total of 91 schools have been shuttered and replaced with new schools.
City officials on Thursday cited a few reasons for the drastic uptick.
• Nineteen of the schools were slated for closure last year, but got temporary reprieves due to a lawsuit by the teachers’ union and the N.A.A.C.P. The city is now re-doing the process that led to their closing.
• The Obama administration has asked states to identify their lowest five percent of schools for closure or other serious interventions. Twelve more schools are in this category.
• The city is also following its own process to identify additional schools that have low achievement levels and that it thinks may be beyond saving. That’s 16 more schools.
Technically, all of these schools face a potential “phase-out,” in which the school stops accepting entering classes, losing one grade per year, until it ceases to exist. Simultaneously, new schools open and grow in the building. The end result is the closure of the failing school.
Unlike in previous years, these 47 schools are getting advance warning that they might be shuttered. City officials said they are holding a minimum of four meetings at each school to inform parents, administrators, teachers and community leaders about the city’s potential plans. The idea is to both explain what would happen in a phase-out, and to hear arguments about why some or all parts of the school should be saved.