EDUCATION

Puerto Rico to close 184 schools, save $7M amid crisis and growing exodus

Two days after filing for a form of bankruptcy protection for its monumental $70 billion debt, Puerto Rico announced Friday it is closing 184 public schools.

Education Department spokeswoman Yolanda Rosaly said approximately 27,000 students will be moved elsewhere starting the next school year.

PUERTO RICO REQUESTS UNPRECEDENTED BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION FOR $70B DEBT

She said the move is expected to save more than $7 million to the bankrupt island, which is immersed in a deep economic crisis.

Rosaly said more details will be provided soon. El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico's leading newspaper, posted the list of schools to be shut down.

It is the largest mass closure of schools announced in the history of the U.S. territory.

The island has seen its school enrollment drop 42 percent in the past three decades, mostly as a result of parents moving to the mainland U.S. in search of jobs and a more affordable life.

PUERTO RICO PUSHES TO PRIVATIZE OPERATION OF PUBLIC SERVICES

An additional 22 percent drop is expected in upcoming years, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group.

Opponents of previous school closures say that transportation logistics and special education needs were not taken into account. 

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

The AP contributed to this report.