Group files appeal over city school closings

ACORN says moves will cause further harm

April 11, 2001|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

A community group filed an appeal with the state yesterday over the closing of nine Baltimore schools, saying the plan forces many children to attend lower-performing schools with more uncertified teachers and fewer computers.

Organizers with Maryland ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - said students affected by the closings are generally being sent to "already low performing schools" that do not have "adequately trained staff or equipment to properly educate children."

"The current plan to close schools means that already failing schools will have to contend with being packed full of students without any commitment for additional resources from the state or the city," according to the appeal.

ACORN organizer Mitchell Klein said the group analyzed test scores, enrollment figures, teacher certification rates and student-to-computer ratios at the schools to determine how prepared they are to serve additional students.

"We tried to do it in more than just an emotional way," he said.

Ronald A. Peiffer, an assistant state superintendent, said the state has received several appeals, which can be made on procedural grounds or on the merits of the case.

The city school board must respond to appeals within 23 days, after which an administrative hearing is held, Peiffer said.

The state school board makes the final decision.

The city school board voted last month to close seven schools this summer, including Charles Carroll of Carrollton Elementary-Middle, Harbor View, Madison Square, Mildred Monroe and Park Heights elementaries, and Luther Craven Mitchell and Malcolm X primaries.

Edgewood and Lafayette elementaries are slated to close in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

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