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15 of 42 NYC school superintendents replaced

NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina is shown at

NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina is shown at the New York Hilton hotel in Manhattan on Saturday, April 26, 2014. Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

More than a third of the city school system's 42 district and high school superintendents are being replaced in a major shake-up by Mayor Bill de Blasio's top educator.

The Department of Education is keeping 27 of the superintendents. Four others will leave their posts by the end of the year, seven have quit, two retired and two found jobs elsewhere in the agency.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña called her decision to make the personnel changes a matter of "common sense."

Superintendents help appoint principals, approve tenure decisions and oversee school budgets, according to the Department of Education's website. The new superintendents' first day was Tuesday, officials said.

"I want leaders at the helm who understand what it takes to ensure a supportive school community, and this is an exciting step forward to make sure our school system creates environments where all students and school staff will thrive," the chancellor said in a statement.

Unlike the bulk of the Department of Education's workforce, superintendents are at-will employees, not represented by a labor union, meaning the city does not need to demonstrate good cause to get rid of these senior officials.

Fariña's office said in July that superintendents would have to reapply for their jobs. Under revised guidelines, superintendents must have at least 10 years of "pedagogic experience," including at least three years as a "successful" principal.

The move did not placate the system's persistent critics, such as the pro-charter schools group Families for Excellent Schools.

"Replacing 15 bureaucrats won't save 143,000 kids trapped in failing schools. NYC's school system is broken," the group's chief executive, Jeremiah Kittredge, said in a statement. "We have an epidemic, decades-old education crisis that has kept hundreds of thousands of kids -- generations -- mired in failure and poverty."

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