DOE Is Told School Closings Were Done Improperly

News

A 9-4 vote by the Panel of Education Policy taken on January 26th to close 19 poorly performing  schools was overturned this past Friday in a Manhattan courtroom.

State Supreme Court Judge Joan B. Lobis cited multiple violations made by the New York City of Department of Education specifically their failure “to provide the detailed analysis an impact statement mandates.”  Judge Lobis was referring to an Educational Impact Statement, a document required by law that assesses how changes of this magnitude will affect the surrounding community.  After reviewing the evidence, the judge believed the DOE failed to adequately explain to parents and local advocates how extensive the effect of these closings would be in their respective neighborhoods.

While City officials scramble to prepare a speedy appeal and opponents celebrate this victory, 8,500 students remain in limbo as to what school they’ll be attending next fall – though the DOE has already said that they have begun to send out acceptance letters for the other 80,000 students beginning this past weekend. GothamSchools has put together a great analysis on their website asking what’s next for the students and details about a possible backup plan available to Chancellor Klein in case this appeal process drags out.

Here are statements from both sides made after the ruling:

Michael A. Cardozo, City’s Corporation counsel:

“We are disappointed by today’s ruling, which, unless it is reversed, requires the Department of Education to keep open schools that are failing our children…Contrary to the ruling, we believe that the Department of Education complied with the notice and public hearing requirements in the new law. The Court did not take into account the extra efforts made by the Department to supply the relevant facts and to keep all interested parties informed of the process.”

Michael Mulgrew, UFT President :

“That’s what the community was saying throughout this process, they continuously said they’re not doing this right,” saidAnd no one was listening and no one would stop them from what they were doing, and it’s sad that we had to go to court to get relief.”