PHILADELPHIA, March 8 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia School Reform Commission said it voted to close 23 schools in the city after months of debate.
Four schools the commission considered closing will stay open, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The vote Thursday night came after many protests and rallies against the contraction, which is estimated to be one of the largest mass school closings in the nation's history, the Inquirer said.
About 700 people protested the vote Thursday, the Inquirer said.
Nineteen people, including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, were arrested after they tried to block the SRC members' entrance into the meeting.
SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos said the closings were the result of financial crisis and years of delayed decisions.
The district recently borrowed $300 million to pay its bills for the rest of the year, the Inquirer said.
The schools will close at the end of the school year.