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24 Schools Slated to Close Are Now Planning for Fall, Walcott Says

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 01:22 PM

The day after a judge turned down the city's request for a temporary restraining order to block 4,000 teachers from returning to 24 schools, Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said Wednesday that principals at those schools were moving ahead to plan for the start of the school year.

"My goal is to make sure that these schools open with minimal disruption," he said.

Mr. Walcott said education officials would meet with the principals on Tuesday afternoon to go over their budgets and help discern staffing needs, since recent hiring and firing decisions at the schools were reversed in late June by an arbitrator’s ruling. He also said the city would "work in collaboration" with the teachers' and principals' unions to make sure schools were ready for September.

"It's a very ambitious schedule, but we'll meet that schedule," said Mr. Walcott, who made the remarks while visiting a summer program at Public School 5 Port Morris in the Bronx.

Mr. Walcott also said he remained hopeful that the judge, who will hear the city's formal appeal on July 24, will agree with the Education Department. The city argues that an arbitrator overstepped his authority when he ruled that the city violated union contracts by letting go of teachers at the 24 schools and forcing them to reapply for their jobs.

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