UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.
School closings are underway now, but not before protestors shut down North Broad Street to show their displeasure with the Philadelphia School District's plan.
"Shame on you!" they shouted.
One boy, a student at Carroll High, which would close, emotionally spoke about wanting to stay at his school.
Others said they would not give up the fight until a one-year moratorium on closings is called.
Superintedent William R. Hite Jr. kicked off the formal closing hearings by talking about the need to save the near-bankrupt district. Closings are tough, he said, but they must be done. He outlined the lengthy closing process, which has unfolded over two years. (Though this current round of closings was made public in December, with 37 closings recommended; updated recommendations, with 29 schools supposed to shut, were issued this week.)
UPDATE, 4:50 p.m.
What was a largely quiet, perfunctory School Reform Commission meeting was just interrupted by perhaps 100 sign-waving, shouting citizens angry at the district's move to shut 29 schools.
While a district staffer was reading a resolution honoring school counselors, the protesters marched in with a bullhorn, photos of Gov. Corbett and Mayor Nutter (blamed for underfunding schools) and signs reading "1 Year Moratorium" and "Save Our Schools."
"SRC, not for me" and "we're fired up, can't take it no more," they shouted. A speaker angrily accused the SRC of following an agenda to privatize schools.
After about five minutes, the protesters moved to the back of the room and the meeting resumed, though folks continued shouting from the back. "How do you live with yourselves?" one man shouted. Another suggested the SRC was out of touch, and that no schools in the neighborhoods they live in are proposed to close. That's not exactly true; the newest SRC member, Sylvia Simms, lives in North Philadelphia, and the school her granddaughter attends is up for closure. It's Simms' first SRC meeting; she replaces Lorene Cary, who left after her term expired.
Hi, all! Brace yourselves for a lively Thursday - SRC meeting, school closing hearings. I'll be livetweeting, so follow along here or on Twitter.