The annual fight over school closures between the city, parents, teachers—and now, Occupiers—returned in full force last night for a raucous, crazy meeting at Brooklyn Tech. More than 2,000 people showed up for an evening the Times describes as being like "several meetings were going on at once, all of them confused and cacophonous, with sound spilling over from one group to the next." In the end, the Panel for Education Policy voted to close or partially close the 23 schools they announced in December. And even without Cathie Black to kick around like last year, the meeting wasn't the most orderly.

"There are important proposals up for discussion," current Schools Commissioner Walcott said. "If all the [teachers union] wants to do is bus in Occupy Wall Street protesters...then we will just have to work around that." And so they did. Because, in addition to the Teachers Union which had originally planned to hold a meeting in a nearby school, a group calling themselves Occupy the Department of Education were also on hand to help foster "an atmosphere that was more chaotic than usual." There was a heavy police presence, but the NYPD press office tells us there weren't any arrests.

In the end PEP, which consists of Walcott and 13 members appointed by the mayor and borough presidents voted to close all the schools on the block (as it has done every time it has convened). And this was only the beginning. The City is aiming to close 62 schools this year as part of Mayor Bloomberg's educational reform plans.

Amid the chanting, parents, teachers and students spoke to the Panel in the hopes of saving their schools. "I’m angry and I’m frustrated. I am afraid for the future of my child’s life," one mother at the hearing said. Although the panel voted to close the schools, many of them will remain open for a few more years as they graduate their current classes and are replaced by smaller schools. Since Bloomberg became mayor the city has opened 396 schools and closed 117 (with some overlap).

Despite the crazy crowds, last night's hearing actually broke tradition and didn't actually go on for very long. After about two hours "the 2,500-seat auditorium began to empty out, as the Occupy members reacted to an unconfirmed report that the police were about to make arrests, and parents and students gave up on trying to speak."

To get a sense of just what the event was like, here's an intermittently blurry video with some good audio:

And finally, here are the schools that will be phased out and closed:

Bronx:
Gateway School For Environmental Research and Technology
Jane Addams High School For Academic Careers
Samuel Gompers Career And Technical Education High School
Grace Dodge Career And Technical Education High School
Aspire Preparatory Middle School

Brooklyn:
P.S. 019 Roberto Clemente
General D. Chappie James Elementary School of Science
International Arts Business School
Satellite Three
Middle School For The Arts
J.H.S. 296 The Anna Gonzalez Community School
P.S. 22
Academy Of Business And Community Development

Manhattan:
Legacy School For Integrated Studies
Manhattan Theatre Lab High School
Washington Irving High School

Queens:
P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott

Staten Island:
P.S. 014 Cornelius Vanderbilt

And these schools will have their middle school grades eliminated:

Bronx:
Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship

Brooklyn:
P.S. 298 Betty Shabazz
Frederick Douglass Academy IV
PS 161 The Crown
Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School