(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston) - The Boston School Committee has voted unanimously to approve the "Redesign and Reinvestment" proposal. The plan includes closing nine schools and merging eight schools into four.
An almost four hour meeting - a vote that didn't happen until 9:50pm, a unanimous decision, 7-0, in favor of the new Redesign and Reinvest plan.
It was an intense night - people love their schools - even if this will save money for the district - it is hard to let go.
They could barely get through the pledge.
The chaotic protest was underway long before the vote - Boston Public Schools teachers, students, and parents standing and shouting to save their schools.
But in the end, the vote was decisive - in favor of superintendent Carol Johnson's plan.
English High School's auditorium looked much the same as it did when the plan was first unveiled
two weeks ago - few empty seats in the house and a significant police presence.
This is a move to cut costs that will increase class size while filling 5,600 seats that are currently empty around the district - plus close an anticipated 63 million dollar budget shortfall for next year.
With Mayor Tom Menino on board, the plan must now be implemented - expand 7,
merge 8 into 4, and close 9 schools.
And the teacher's union will be asked to make concessions - to be evaluated based on performance, and with union approval to access $31 million in a Race to the Top Award.