23 Philadelphia schools slated to close

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NBC Philadelphia – The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted Thursday night to save four public schools and close more than two dozen in an effort to save the cash-strapped district about $24 million per year.

School officials say many of the buildings have too many empty seats and are in poor condition. Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite tweeted shortly after the vote.

“The decision to close schools is always difficult but now we must come together to ensure all students are safe and successful,” Hite tweeted.

Opponents say the closures will hurt struggling neighborhoods, disrupt students’ education and lead to blight.

Hundreds attended the School Reform Commission meeting immediately after a rally. Nineteen people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges after they tried to stop the school closure vote from taking place by blocking the doors to the auditorium. All 19 were issued a citation and later released, police said.

“These terrible attacks on our teachers, attacks on our students, we have to stand up and fight back, and that’s what we were doing tonight,” said retired teacher Tom Whitehorn.

Among those arrested, was Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Jerry Jordan, the current president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, released a statement shortly after the vote.

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