Brouhaha Part 2: What to expect when you’re expecting chaos

Setting aside the fact that tomorrow night’s school closure vote will take place in the middle of a “crippling” ice storm, the citywide school board meeting could match last year’s chaos.

Last January, the city tried to push 19 school closures and 32 space utilization changes through the citywide school board in one night, leading to a 12-hour meeting that lasted until four in the morning. Students teachers, and parents showed up by the hundreds to defend their schools and the teachers union held a street-filling rally complete with a jumbotron.

Tomorrow night, the city has lined up only 11 schools for closure and six space utilization changes that include grade truncations and and co-locations. The remainder of the school closure votes will take place in a second marathon Panel for Educational Policy meeting on Thursday.

But if the work load is lighter, that may not be true of the turnout. Charter school advocates are planning to show up en masse to support the few charter school co-location votes before the Panel for Educational Policy.

Last year, few charter school supporters came to the vote and many said they felt bruised by the show of anti-charter sentiment. So the following month, they arrived at the meeting in busloads to make their views heard.

Tomorrow, charter school supporters may outnumber their opponents. Because of the threatening weather forecasts, the teachers union has postponed its rally — and attendant jumbotron — until Thursday.

“The circus will be alive,” said teachers union president Michael Mulgrew.

Eva Moskowitz, CEO of the Success Charter Network of schools, is bringing parents of students at her school. A spokeswoman for the network said that 2,100 parents had signed up to make the trip to Brooklyn Tech High School for the meeting.

“They’re coming to Brooklyn to make sure that Chancellor Black and Mayor Bloomberg understand that they want bolder, faster change,” wrote spokeswoman Jenny Sedlis in an email.

Kerri Lyon, a spokeswoman for the New York City Charter School Center said other charter school operators plan to bring parents as well. Some of those parents may have been encouraged to come by Education Reform Now, the pro-charter lobbying organization. ERN has spent the last several weeks on a campaign to raise awareness about charter schools in areas where new ones are opening next year.

“People think when you’re replacing a school you’re padlocking it and putting the kids on the street,” Lyon said. “What ERN wanted to do was clear up some of those myths and explain it was all about getting better opportunities.”

Last year, this swell of charter school supporters would have been matched by turnout from the teachers union, but the union has postponed its rally until Thursday because of the snow predictions.

Closure:

Metropolitan Corporate Academy
Paul Robeson High School
School for Community Research and Learning
Urban Assembly Academy for History and Citizenship for Young Men
New Day Academy
Monroe Academy for Business/Law High School
Academy of Environmental Science Secondary School
I.S. 195 Roberto Clemente
KAPPA II
Academy of Collaborative Education
I.S. 231 Magnetech

Co-location:

New high school 12X521 to replace Monroe Academy for Business/Law High School (12X690)
New middle schools I.S. 355 and I.S. 356 to replace I.S. 231 Magnetech
Harlem Success Academy 1 (grades 5-8) with Wadleigh Secondary School and the Frederick Douglass Academy II Secondary School in 2012-13
Success Academy Charter School with Brandeis High School

Grade Expansion / Truncation:

Harlem Success Academy 1 (from K-5 to K-6) with M149/M209 in 2011-12
P.S. 40 Samuel Huntington (from K-6 to K-5)

Source: Anna Phillips