Sunday, December 29, 2013

NYC Parents and Elected Officials File Suit Seeking Injunction To Stop Bloomberg's 42 Co-locations

See also NY Post and DNA Info article here. 

For Immediate Release: December 29, 2013
Mona Davids, (646) 872-7149
Leonie Haimson, (917) 435-9329
Arthur Schwartz, Esq. (917) 923-8136

New York City Parents and Elected Officials File Suit Seeking Injunction
To Stop Bloomberg's 42 Recently Approved School Co-locations

New York City public school parents joined by Public Advocate-elect Letitia James and City Council members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jumaane Williams, Margaret Chin and Ruben Wills filed a lawsuit on Friday, December 27, seeking to enjoin the New York City Department of Education ("DoE") from co-locating 42 public and charter schools as approved by the Panel for Educational Policy in October 2013.
The co-locations, slated to begin in September 2014, are the "last hurrah" from lame duck Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a final push to impose his will on New York City public school parents and communities during the new Mayoral administration of Bill de Blasio.

Letitia James, Public Advocate-elect said, “As Public Advocate I intend to insure the role of parents and teachers, the people closest to the ground, in the educational process. Some of what we will need to do at the outset of the new administration is unravel the mess created by the outgoing Chancellor and a Panel on Educational Policy which simply did whatever the Mayor directed. These lawsuits are one step in that direction. They will allow us to quickly annul Mayor Bloomberg's effort to set educational policy for years to come, at least when it comes to the overcrowding caused by co-locations, and the favored treatment of charter schools. I look forward to settling these cases with the new Schools Chancellor.”
Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters said: "This lawsuit is especially valuable as it is the first to point out how inadequate the educational impact statements developed by the DoE have been in completely omitting the likely impact on class size of these numerous co-locations and ignoring how the resulting overcrowding of schools will in many cases lead to building code violations. I would like to thank Advocates for Justice for their work in protecting the rights of NYC students not to have their education severely damaged by these irresponsible and politically motivated co-locations, devised by a lame duck Mayor in his last months in office."
Arthur Z. Schwartz, President of Advocates for Justice, the public interest law firm representing the Petitioners,expressed a "hope that the new Mayor will use these lawsuits as a means to review and reconsider the policy decisions which the Bloomberg Board of Education tried to foist on him." 
Schwartz continued: "It would be far preferable for the new Department of Education leadership to put all of the planned actions on hold, and engage in a careful review of co-locations put into place since 2012. It is time for contention between parents and the Department of Education to end and it is time to stop shoving aside the needs of the majority of the children in our schools so that the DOE can 'prove' that charter schools are a better alternative. It is time to figure out how to reduce class size instead of using $100 million per year to give free space to charter schools.”
Mona Davids, a public school parent and President of the NYC Parents Union said:  "For too long, parents have been ignored by Mayor Bloomberg and the Panel for Educational Policy. This lawsuit seeks to undo public and charter co-locations approved in October 2013.  It is unfortunate that the only way for parents to be heard is through the courts. We hope Mayor-elect de Blasio rescinds these co-locations and begins a real dialogue with parents and community members in determining what is best for our children."

Margaret Chin, City Council Member of district 1 in Manhattan stated, “Co-locations in my district have put a serious strain on school resources and space in my district for little benefit to the students in my community. I have witnessed them get approved through a rubber stamp process that leaves no room for genuine community input. It’s time to put a halt to colocations, including those recently approved at great speed and with little deliberation, until the DOE can demonstrate why the colocations are actually necessary and how they will practically fit with the schools currently in the building.”

Jumaane Williams, City Council Member of district 45 in Brooklyn said, "Forced co-locations throughout the New York public school system remains one of the most controversial policies carried out by the current administration. I hope that the filing of these two lawsuits with give the incoming de Blasio administration the room to reconsider forced co-locations altogether due to the potential negative impact that they have on students throughout this city, particularly students with special needs. We must not rush into forced co-locations, and the public must have the chance to fully vet the proposals and understand they impact that they'll have on student achievement."

Ruben Wills, New York City Council Member of district 28 in Queens and a plaintiff in the state and federal lawsuits expressed that “every child in the New York City Public School System has the right to a sound and equal educational experience regardless of their social or economic status. It is imperative that the new administration is aware of the 42 co-locations, which were rushed with little if any consideration of the negative effects it would have on our children or the concerns of parents. Too many of our children are in overcrowded classrooms. How can we expect them to surpass State Testing mandates without adequate learning materials or access to a proper learning environment? The new administration, therefore, must revise and address the inadequacies in the Department of Education to secure our children’s educational future and success.”

1 comment:

Pogue said...

A. I love the suit filed.

B. I hope Patrick Sullivan finds an important position in educational politics.

C. I can't believe that Bloomberg timer, on the right, is down to one day. How exciting!