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Superintendent moves to delay schools vote

Superintendent moves to delay schools vote
By Edward Mason  |   Tuesday, November 2, 2010  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage

Photo by Chitose Suzuki

Hub Superintendent Carol R. Johnson is asking the School Committee to delay a vote on the lion’s share of her unpopular plan to shutter five schools until December, in a bid to win over angry parents.

Johnson told the Herald she’ll spend the next month trying to convince parents the city can’t afford to keep the schools open and improve student performance citywide, as the School Department faces a $63 million deficit next year.

“People are focused on their individual schools, but this is the fiscal reality we face,” Johnson said. “We don’t think the community has a sense of the trade off.”

Hundreds of furious parents crowded a School Committee meeting at English High last week, angrily demanding Johnson drop her plan to close their schools.

Committee Chairman the Rev. Gregory Groover said yesterday he, too, needed to hear more from Johnson before voting.

“They need to do their homework to see what we are really saving,” Groover said.

Johnson said she’s willing to delay the vote on closing three grade schools until December — the Ralph Waldo Emerson in Roxbury, and the Roger Clap and the East Zone Early Learning Center, both in Dorchester.

Kenny Jervis, a Clap parent, said he can’t be convinced.

“Closing these schools makes zero sense,” Jervis said. “Even with extra time, I don’t see our opinion swaying.”

Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said Johnson wants a vote when parents can’t mobilize against her.

“By delaying and moving closer to the holidays, they’re making it more difficult for people to get involved,” Stutman said.

Johnson said she needs time to explain to parents how health insurance, busing and payroll costs are up while revenues are down.

Johnson wants to delay the vote to reconfigure the Lee Academy Pilot School and Joseph Lee School in Dorchester; and close the Social Justice Academy and the Engineering School and part of the Hyde Park Education complex. But Johnson wants the School Committee to vote tomorrow to shut the Gavin High School in South Boston, converting it into a charter school run by UP Academy; and to create Green Academy, another charter school, to replace an as yet undetermined high school.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1293236

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