Though Judge Frank ruled against Success Academy request to intervene in the lawsuit, they appealed his decision to the Appellate Court, which has now agreed to hear their appeal on May 30, further delaying the resolution of this case (though Success claims they don't want to delay its resolution, really?) Thus the argument in court on the merits of the lawsuit that was originally scheduled for May 25 is now postponed.
Judge Lyle Frank rules against Success Academy request to intervene in the lawsuit:
"petitioners contend that Proposed Intervenor’s interests are irrelevant to the ultimate issue at hand, that being whether respondents acted arbitrarily, capriciously, or unlawfully. The Court agrees. While the Court agrees that the Proposed Intervenor has an interest in the outcome of the litigation, the motion is silent as to what position they will advance that will address the underlying petition and for which the respondents cannot adequately represent. To this Court, to allow the Proposed Intervenor to intervene would be repetitive, and would delay this litigation, which the parties all agree is time sensitive." His full decision is posted here. Argument in court is now scheduled for May 25 at 10 am.
Academy filed papers last night, requesting to intervene in the co-location
lawsuit, and to push back the May 10 hearings for "two to three
weeks" Their attorney is Jay Lefkowitz of Kirkland and Ellis.
Lefkowitz is well known in right-wing circles and helped get the sexual
predator Jeffrey Epstein a cushy plea bargain in 2007, after Epstein had been
found to have paid scores of young girls to engage in sex acts.
According to Wikipedia, Lefkowitz attempted to "exonerate Epstein from the most serious offenses, bypassing the victims and painting Epstein's character as that of a benevolent benefactor figure..." This plea deal was later ruled illegal, by not informing the victims in advance of making the agreement. Here is the letter written by Lefkowitz to Alexander Acosta, his former law firm colleague, then the US attorney in South Florida, urging him not to notify Epstein's victims prior to making the deal.
Watch this space here for an update in case the court hearing is postponed.
March 29, 2023
See below press release about a new lawsuit filed by parents, teachers and the UFT against the DOE to prevent two charter co-locations in Queens and Brooklyn on the grounds that the Educational Impact Statements and the space estimations for these co-locations do not take into account or even mention the need to lower class size in compliance with the new state law, nor do they describe any of the actual educational impacts on students as legally required, including the loss of specialized spaces like science labs and dedicated rooms for special education and other intervention services. Here is a Daily News article about the lawsuit.
Also available online: the Memo of law , Verified petition, my affidavit, and order to show cause. The judge to the case, Judge Lyle Frank of the Supreme Court, found for parents and against the DOE in the budget cuts lawsuit, Tucker V. the City of New York. A court date has now been set for May 10 at 9:30 AM at 80 Centre St. Part II.
For Immediate Release – Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Parents, educators, UFT launch court action to block co-location
of two Success Academy charters with Queens and Brooklyn public schools
Lawsuit claims DOE
failed to account for state law class size caps, needs of disabled students and
Parents, a teacher, and the
United Federation of Teachers (UFT) today filed a lawsuit in Manhattan State
Supreme Court charging that the New York City Department of Education violated
state education law and its own regulations when it sought to co-locate two
Success Academy charter schools into Queens and Brooklyn public schools without
providing an in-depth analysis of how these co-locations would affect the
students already in those public schools.
The city’s Panel for Education
Policy voted in November and December in favor of the co-locations, but as the
lawsuit says, “The DOE has misled parents, the public, and the PEP itself
regarding the actual impacts of its proposed co-locations, including both
schools’ ability to comply with impending requirements of the new Class Size
Attorneys for the United
Federation of Teachers were joined in the legal action by Advocates for Justice
Legal Foundation, along with a teacher and parents of children from the
The schools involved include
the Waterside School for Leadership in Far Rockaway, Queens, and the Sheepshead
Bay Educational Campus that is home to Origins High School, Professional
Pathways High School, and New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and
According to the lawsuit, the
DOE underestimated the effects of the co-locations by assuming that current
class sizes in these schools would continue into the foreseeable future,
ignoring the requirements of the new state class size law.
Under that law, all schools
will have to cap class sizes in kindergarten through grade three at twenty
students; grades four through eight at twenty-three students; and grades nine
through twelve at twenty-five students, to be phased in over five years,
starting next fall.
According to the lawsuit, many
classes in two of the existing schools are already far above those limits and
will require additional space to lower class
sizes to mandated levels. Yet this need is never mentioned in the
legally-required Educational Impact Statements (EIS) for these co-locations,
nor is there sufficient space allocated to these schools to be able to reduce
class size to mandated levels in the future.
Absent from the EIS is any
mention that students at Waterside will lose their science lab, and that all
four schools may lose many other dedicated rooms needed to deliver intervention
and special education services.
Estherll Dorancy, the PTA
President of Waterside School for Leadership said, “Parents weren’t even aware
of what was going on when these decisions were being made. Our students
will lose classrooms needed to lower their class sizes and their science lab,
which is critical if they are going to be able to pass their 8th-grade state
As the lawsuit makes
clear, the DOE is legally required to produce in-depth EIS reviews.
According to the lawsuit, “the DOE is going through the motions of what the law
requires instead of actually complying with it.”
Irina Pistsov, another parent
at the Waterside School for Leadership said, "The science lab is a
critical resource for students at Waterside and it is already a challenge to
provide adequate lab time to meet state standards."
As the lawsuit maintains,
there is nothing in any of the EISs produced for these proposed co-locations,
or in the Instructional Footprints upon which they are based, “that ensure or
even analyze whether there would be sufficient dedicated spaces for students
with disabilities to receive their mandated services after the co-locations
The parties seek an injunction
to prevent the co-locations from occurring until
and unless the DOE complies with the requirements of the Education law -- “to
provide the impacted students, parents, community, and members of the Panel for
Educational Policy with adequate specific information about major changes to
their school’s space and how these changes will impact the education of the
existing and prospective students.”
Estherll Dorancy: PTA president of Waterside School for Leadership
Irina Pistov: Parent at the Waterside School for Leadership
Elizabeth Weinert: Teacher, Professional Pathways
Michael Mulgrew: President, United Federation of Teachers