December 16, 2009
A meeting to determine the fate of schools marked for closure is being moved from Staten Island to Brooklyn after parents and teachers protested that some would have to travel over two hours to attend.
The Panel for Educational Policy meeting, where members will vote on the Department of Education’s proposals to close 20 schools, will be held at Brooklyn Technical High School at the same date and time. The majority of the panel’s members are appointed by the mayor, and have never voted down any of the department’s proposals.
“In response to concerns about the location of the January panel meeting, the DOE has decided to hold the meeting at Brooklyn Tech and we will reschedule a meeting in Staten Island at a later date,” said DOE spokeswoman Ann Forte.
Originally planned to be held at the Michael J. Petrides School in Staten Island, the January 26 meeting is expected to be a showdown between those who believe their schools have been unjustly labeled “failing” and the DOE employees tasked with defending those decisions.
It was also going to be a trek. The majority of the schools slated for closure are in the Bronx, which is over two hours and multiple subway and bus transfers away from Staten Island, where no schools are being closed. Some critics questioned whether the department had picked the location for its inaccessibility in hopes of limiting public protest.