Black’s first move a no-win situation

Chancellor Black makes the call on school closings.

Cathie Black yesterday made her first major decision as schools chancellor to keep them open, despite the declaration of a weather emergency by the mayor’s office and a warning from the MTA to avoid unnecessary travel.

“There are a lot of parents who said schools should be open,” Margie Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said yesterday. “Principals will be understanding if kids arrive late.”

But Black’s decision drew ire from some parents, especially in the outer boroughs. “It was not the right decision in terms of safely getting kids to school,” said Rosamaria Giaimo, who lives in Bayside, Queens, on the border with Nassau County where a foot of snow fell. “If they insisted on opening, they should have had it delayed.”

Other parents pointed to mixed signals from the Department of Education, the MTA and the mayor’s office. “If you don’t need to travel tomorrow morning, please don’t,” pleaded MTA Chairman Jay Walder on Tuesday.

Schools are open, but who’s going?

Attendance yesterday:

» Citywide: 46 percent of students showed up
» Elementary: 55 percent
» Middle school: 47 percent
» High school: 37 percent

Compared to last Wednesday, when it didn’t snow:

» Citywide: 89 percent
» Elementary: 93.9 percent
» Middle school: 92.3 percent
» High school: 80.3 percent

6: The number of times New York City public schools have closed since 1978.



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