Emotions Run High At Public Hearing On School Closings, Relocations

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/CBS 2) — There was plenty of emotion at a public hearing regarding potential school closings and relocations Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

Despite the fact that a vote on the closing of I.S. 231 in Queens was tabled until March 23, those in attendance at Brooklyn Technical High School voiced their heartfelt opinion on a number of topics, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

One fifth grader made an emotional plea as she expressed how upset she was at the idea of a charter school crowding into her school — P.S. 308 in Bedford Stuyvesant.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports from the hearing at Brooklyn Tech

“Do you even care about us? Do you know what you are doing?” the student said.

RELATED STORY: Community Celebrates Successful Effort To Keep P.S. 114 In Brooklyn Open

The school is one of 12 co-location projects, which would involve putting new schools into existing buildings. Most of those schools would be charter schools.

Also at issue was the topic of teacher seniority. Chancellor Cathie Black backed the state Senate’s vote Tuesday to rescind the so-called “last hired, first fired” policy.

“Experience absolutely matters, but it cannot be the sole factor considered in our layoff decisions,” Black said.

Some teachers, however, were especially critical of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s push to abolish seniority protection,

“And the unfortunate thing is instead of supporting schools, they’re trying to find ways to destroy schools,” one teacher said.

Despite the fact that the landmark teacher seniority legislation passed the state Senate, it was stalled in the Assembly.

Also Tuesday night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his own bill creating a performance and seniority evaluation system for next school year. However, Mayor Bloomberg said action in Albany will not happen fast enough to change 4,600 planned teacher layoffs this spring.

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