Judge Blocks City Plan to Close 19 Schools

Friday, March 26, 2010

A state judge has blocked the city from going ahead with plans to phase out 19 low-performing schools.

State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis sided with parents, teachers, and the NAACP, saying the city violated state education law by failing to detail how the eventual closings would impact other schools and students.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is a co-plaintiff.

"A judge now has said that this is totally unacceptable, that you can't just pay lip service to parental involvement," he says.

Michael Mulgrew is the president of the UFT. "It's a shame that the community had to go to court to have their rights upheld," he says. "And we're glad that the court did it, but we would hope that you do not have to take that as a last resort."

Among the schools are 15 high schools, and it's not yet clear what impact the ruling will have on high-school acceptance letters that were supposed to go out this week.

The judge says her decision should only apply to students who had wanted to go to those 15 high schools.

The Department of Education says it will appeal immediately. "If we are successful on the appeal we will close the schools," says Jesse Levine, the education department's attorney.

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