BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After meeting for more than four hours, the Baltimore City school board voted to close five district schools Tuesday night.
Passionate parents and educators packed the room to plead their case for their school.
The school board had a controversial decision to make. Five schools that Baltimore Schools were on the chopping block.
Five schools that Baltimore Schools CEO, Sonja Santelises said were underperforming.
“It’s about quality schools and it’s about quality options for young people,” said Santelises. “and when we looked at the performance of these schools- not just from one indicator, not just from a test score, but on multiple levels when we compared them to other schools either across the state but also within the district, they were some of the lowest performing.”
By the end of the night, the board voted to close Gilmor Elementary, Monarch Academy, Northwood Appold Community Academy, and Roots and Branches this year.
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary will close next year but the name will remain.
Bonnie Peterson, mother of a special needs student said she was devastated.
“I was going to send my daughter there next year,” said Peterson. “I’d already made arrangements with the school for my daughter to go to that school even though her brother wouldn’t be there. I’m not going to send my child to any old place.”
The group that operated Monarch, one of the closed schools, said the decision was politically motivated.
“So when you scrape back- you peel all of those layers, you have children that are being left behind,” said Nakia Nicholson of The Children’s Guild at Monarch Academy. “And nobody cares.”
Not every school received a “no” vote. Other schools received approval from the board to stay open.