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(CNN) — A school board in Rhode Island has voted to fire all teachers at a struggling high school, a dramatic and controversial plan aimed at shoring up education in a poverty-ridden school district.

On Tuesday night, the board approved the plan by Frances Gallo, superintendent at Central Falls School District, to discharge 88 teachers at Central Falls High School.

The firings come over the district’s concern that teachers refused to spend more time with students to improve test scores.

But a teachers’ union spokesman called the firings “drastic” and cited a 21 percent rise in reading scores and a 3 percent hike in math scores in two years.

The terminations will go into effect in the next school year at Central Falls, one of the lowest-performing schools in the state.

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