Puerto Rico to close 179 schools amid crisis: official

May 5, 2017 8:29 pm Last Updated: May 5, 2017 8:29 pm

Puerto Rico is slated to close down 179 public schools amid its deep economic crisis that prompted the commonwealth to declare bankruptcy, AP reported.

Some 27,000 students on the island will be moved elsewhere after their schools close down, Education Secretary Julia Keleher told AP.

“We have a fiscal crisis and few resources and we’ve spent 10 years handing out nearly $3 billion in a system that hardly has any books,” she said. “We cannot keep doing what we’re doing because we don’t have the resources.”

Officials said that 184 schools were closing down—but they then announced that five schools would remain open.

Puerto Rico currently has a total about 1,292 public schools that house 365,000 students.

Earlier this week, Puerto Rico declared a type of bankruptcy in a federal court—the first time in U.S. history that an American state or territory took the measure, the New York Times reported. The second largest, as of now, is Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Puerto Rico is currently $123 billion in debt.

“The Commonwealth’s proposal is not a credible starting point for negotiations,” Andrew Rosenberg of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, an adviser, told the NY Times in a statement.

“That things are starting out in such a highly adversarial way strongly suggests this will be a long and contentious journey for Puerto Rico,” said Matt Fabian, who is a partner at Municipal Market Analytics.