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Chanting, booing, heckling — that's what members of the Boston School Committee faced Wednesday night, as they voted unanimously to close or merge more than a dozen city schools in a move to help close a $63 million budget gap.
The vote now means nine Boston schools will close and eight others will merge by next fall, as part of a proposal outlined by Superintendent Carol Johnson.
"...we cannot continue to operate the way we have."School Committee member Michael O’Neill
Committee member Michael O’Neill said no one wants to close schools, but they have to do it because otherwise, all students will suffer reduced resources.
"Simply put, as we try to move the district forward, for all 56,000 students, we cannot continue to operate the way we have," O'Neill said. "There was a famous expression that goes: doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. This cannot keep going on in this city."
Speaking to WBUR early Wednesday, committee Chair Rev. Gregory Groover acknowledged frustrated feelings but said the changes are ultimately for the best.
Parents and teachers at the affected schools reacted with tears, anger and disgust Wednesday night.
Wayne Wilson has a son at the Louis Agassiz Elementary School in Jamaica Plain, which will close at the end of the school year.
"I’m disgusted. This is the mayor's rubber stamp. Mayor Menino said what he wanted — it's an appointed school committee, no public voice," Wilson said.
On Tuesday, the mayor used a public address to call for the committee to support Johnson's plan, saying “it’s about the kids,” not the buildings.
This program aired on December 16, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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