After more than five-and-a-half hours of testimony from hundreds of speakers, a city panel voted early Wednesday morning to close 10 schools.
About 2,000 parents, students and teachers flooded the city Education Department's Panel for Educational Policy meeting about not only closing schools, but also about requiring existing buildings to share space with new schools.
In contrast to last year's closing vote, most of the crowd appeared to be charter school supporters, the majority from former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz's Success Academies, who arrived by the busloads and held signs calling for "Bold Fast Change."
The meeting was held in the Brooklyn Tech High School auditorium. A second meeting on closing another 13 schools will be held Thursday.
Like Monday, when about two dozen people were arrested protesting outside the Education Department's headquarters, tempers flared.
Two of the panel members had to be physically restrained by Deputy Chancellor Santiago Taveras and panel chair Tino Hernandez.
After mayoral appointee Tomas Morales and Manhattan borough appointee Patrick Sullivan returned to their seats, Sullivan presented a resolution to delay the meeting because of the horrible weather.
"The mayor's appointees are indifferent. One of them came over here to taunt me," he said.
The resolution was voted down eight to four. After the meeting Sullivan acknowledged tapping Morales on the back before being restrained.
As the panel deliberated beginning at midnight, Chancellor Cathie Black got booed by the crowd of by-then just 150 stalwart audience members when Sullivan asked about one of the locations for a charter school. "Oooh," she mimicked the crowd before responding.
The panel, which has a majority of mayoral appointees, has never voted down a closing and rarely rejects a proposal from the agency.
When the votes were in shortly after 1:15, the crowd - joined by United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew - rebuked the panel members, chanting, "fraud."
Earlier, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio asked the city to delay Tuesday's vote on two of Success Charter schools in Manhattan because he believes the city hasn't addressed parents' concerns.
Some students at Wadleigh Secondary School will have to eat lunch at 9:45 a.m. if the agency moves forward with plans to bring Harlem Success Academy 1 to the building already shared by Frederick Douglass Academy II, he noted in a letter to officials.
At the Brandeis campus, where Upper West Success is slated to move into a building already shared by five high schools, De Blasio raised several issues: overcrowding in the district, the building's recent $22 million renovation, and the "safety concerns" raised by 5-year-olds sharing space with teenagers.
"Almost invariably, when the Department of Education implements major changes to schools without listening to the concerns of parents we get an unacceptable result - a worse educational environment for our students," said De Blasio, who was among 10 elected officials and their representatives who criticized the proposals at the hearing.
Education officials said they have held a hearing for every school where space-sharing arrangements were proposed and had more than 100 conversations and meetings with the struggling and closing schools.
The new locations for the charter school were approved by the panel.
"After months of public hearings and conversations with school communities, we can't afford to delay any further and deny parents high-quality options that they are demanding for their kids," said agency spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld in a statement.
"We take the specific concerns of elected officials, our parents, and other members of the public very seriously, and have already responded to these concerns directly."
A dozen Success Charter school students took to the microphone to support their schools.
"I need to make it to college and Harlem Success Academy is helping me get there," said Faith Rodriguez, 10, a fifth-grader.
At times, the two warring sides found common ground.
Lisa Donlan, president of Community Education Council 1, led a song to a familiar tune to cheers from all quarters: "If the DOE would provide real reforms, what a wonderful world it would be."
The United Federation of Teachers also said they gave a ride home to roughly 20 charter school kids and parents to Manhattan after they were left apparently stranded.
"We would never leave kids out in the cold," said Mulgrew. "When we realized Ms. Moskowitz's firm failed to secure enough buses for their parents and kids, we made sure they got home."
A charter official did not respond to a request for comment.
Sometime after 11, Wadleigh principal Herma Hall said she came at "some risk" to her career to speak against the plan to locate Harlem Success Academy in their building.
"It's a known fact that when Eva Moskowitz brings a school to your building, she consumes you," she explained to the News after addressing the panel.
List of schools to close:
-Paul Robeson High School
-Metropolitan Corporate Academy High School;
-School for Community Research and Learning
-Urban Assembly Academy for History and Citizenship for Young Men
-New Day Academy
-Monroe Academy for Business/Law High School
-Academy of Environmental Science Secondary High School
-Academy of Collaborative Education
WOW! NYC SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO CLOSE 10 SCHOOLS! TOLD YA'LL BLOOMBERG WAS NUCKY THOMPSON! HE PUT HIS PUPPET CATHIE BLACK IN CHARGE & FIRED JOEL KLINE! HOW CAN SOMEONE WHO'S NOT QUALIFIED ENOUGH TO TEACH IN A CLASSROOM BE THE CHANCELLOR? STRAIGHT BULLSH!T!