Haifa councilor seeks to delay school closures

Haifa city councilor Shmuel Gelbhart has asked Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar to intervene in the planned closure of two schools in the city in the coming school year, reports www.mynet.co.il. Gelbhart asked the minister to keep the financially troubled Kishon and Ma'aleh Carmel schools open, saying the decision to close them had been made improperly and the issue should be re-examined. According to the report, the planned closures were discussed recently at an education committee meeting with parents, teachers and city councilors. Gelbhart said a clear majority of those at the meeting were opposed to the closures, but a prepared statement in favor of the closures was read out by the committee's head, and committee members who suggested an alternative to the closures were reportedly silenced. Gelbhart said the Kishon school in particular was a "community anchor" for a weak neighborhood and had recorded impressive achievements despite its financial crisis. The report said that a local legal firm was also fighting the closures, last week sending letters to Mayor Yona Yahav and Education Ministry officials asking for the decision to be cancelled. No response was reported to the pleas.