Judge blocks city from closing 19 schools

March 26, 2010 4:35:40 PM PDT
A State Supreme Court judge has ruled that New York City cannot close 19 schools.

Friday's decision is a victory for the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP, which had sued to block the closures announced by the Board of Education back in January.

They contended that the board had failed to comply with Education Law by failing to provide hard copies of education impact statements, which detail the schools that would be closed or phased out and why.

It was also argued that the board issued "last minute" notifications of public hearings, and those hearings did not satisfy what is mandated by the law.

The Panel for Education Policy voted to close the 19 schools because they were performing below grade after a raucous hearing on January 26, 2010. The judge has declared that vote null and void.

In her ruling, Justice Joan Lobis concluded that the panel committed "significant violations of Education Law."

She ruled that the panel "appeared to trivialize the whole notion of community involvement in decisions regarding the closing or phasing out of schools" when making its argument before the court.

The city, she also said, "failed to provide the detailed analysis an impact statement mandates."

The city must reissue the statements for the 19 schools before it completes the process of finding seats for the thousands of student who applied to those schools, she ruled.

The decision, she ruled, is not intended to delay admissions notifications for the other 80,000 eighth-graders city wide who did not apply to the schools that are affected.


New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said the city will be sending out high school acceptance letters to students' homes immediately.

"We anticipate that by mid-week all students will have received their letters," he said, adding that no students were matched to schools targeted for phase out.

"Depending on the outcome of the appeal of the judge's decision, those schools might accept new students. As a result, students who applied to those schools will also receive a letter stating that, should the schools remain open, they may select one of them," he said.

Since 2003, 91 schools have been phased out and 335 new schools were created.

High schools citywide graduate 60-percent of students, while the new high schools graduate 75-percent.

Schools that were targets for closing this year were located in every borough, except for Staten Island.

The schools are:

  • W.H. Maxwell CTE HS
  • Frederick Douglass Academy III Secondary School
  • Academy of Environmental Science
  • School for Community Research and Learning
  • Global Enterprise High School
  • Beach Channel HS
  • Christopher Columbus HS
  • Robeson HS Bus & Tech
  • Jamaica HS
  • Choir Academy of Harlem
  • Norman Thomas HS
  • Kappa IIPPA
  • Metropolitan Corporate Academy
  • Middle School For Academic and Social Excellence
  • PS 332 Charles H Houston
  • New Day Academy
  • Academy of Collaborative Education
  • Business, Computer Applications and Entrepreneursh
  • Monroe Academy for Business/Law