May 19, 2014
New York, NY – The New York City school co-locations lawsuit, James v. Board of Education, before Judge Eileen A. Rakower in New York State Supreme Court, was dismissed on procedural grounds. The Court held that under New York Law, challenges to the actions of the NYC Department of Education had to first be appealed to the State Education Commissioner.
"The judge’s ruling means that petitioners will have to wait for a ruling from the State Education Commissioner before deciding whether to head back to court," said Laura Barbieri, counsel for Advocates for Justice, attorneys for the Petitioners.
“There is no issue that parents on the ground in NYC public schools care more passionately about than co-locations. This lawsuit, on behalf of more than 40 parents and members of Community Education Councils whose schools were affected, was to stop all co-locations until a proper public process can be instituted, one that takes into account parent and community input, as the co-location law requires, and real educational impact statements that describe the effect of co-locations on classroom conditions — including increasing class size, instead of the sham ones that DOE has produced. NYC kids deserve better than to be squeezed into overcrowded classrooms, receive their mandated services in hallways and in closets, and have to eat lunch at 10am in the morning,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters.
“The dismissal of this lawsuit on procedural grounds is simply a minor delay to parents’ day in court to hold the NYC Department of Education for their failure to properly review the co-locations of these schools and assess the impact on the students. We are one of the plaintiffs that has already filed an appeal with the State Education Commissioner in November 2013. We anticipated the possibility of dismissal on procedural grounds. This co-location lawsuit is about equity and fairness for all students. The co-locations disputed are only 17 charter schools and 26 public schools. We don’t care if it is a charter or public school, all co-locations should be fair and equitable for all students sharing the building. Furthermore, while the charter lobby prefers to mislead the public, stating this lawsuit is by the teacher’s union, the New York City Parents Union is not controlled by the UFT,” said Mona Davids, President of the New York City Parents Union.