Facing a $60 million budget deficit and 5,600 empty seats district-wide, Boston Public Schools’ Superintendent Carol Johnson on Thursday night proposed closing nine schools and merging another eight into four schools.

The plan she presented to the School Committee would also expand six successful programs into new buildings starting next fall.

“The reason the numbers are high and the reason we’re making lots of changes now is to try to have a stable, predictable set of school offerings so there’s continuity,” Johnson said Thursday.
The plan is more drastic than Johnson’s preliminary proposal tabled this fall after parents, students and watchdog groups complained.

“We went back to the drawing board and resubmitted the plan, and we expanded the plan,” she said. “We want to make sure we have the resources in place to continue the aggressive plan we are working on.”

The plan, which would fill roughly one-quarter of the district’s empty seats if approved, is part of larger efforts to save tens of millions of dollars by reforming busing and student assignment and overhauling collective bargaining.

“I hate closing schools, but I think the highest value we have to have is making sure we have the resources to impact all 56,000 students.”

Schools to ...

» Close: East Zone ELC; Fifield Elementary; Middle School Academy; Emerson Elementary; Farragut Elementary; Agassiz Elementary; The Engineering School; Social Justice Academy; Gavin Middle School
» Be expanded: Holland Elementary; Trotter Elementary; King K-8; TechBoston Academy
» Merge: Lee Academy with Lee Elementary; Alighieri and Umana Schools; Urban Science Academy and Parkway Academy of Technology and Health; Brook Farm Business & Service Career Academy and Media Communications Technology High School; Excel High School and Monument High School