A major victory in court last month, led by journalist and education activist Leonie Haimson and her team, is keeping PS 25 open for another year. According to Haimson, on her blog, Judge Katherine Levine of the Kings County Supreme Court said the school should remain open next year and she will decide the complex legal merits of the case more carefully over the next few months.
She seemed impressed with our research on how all the other 33 schools DOE offered these kids were: (1) had a lower impact rating, (2) many of them were miles away, 19 in Staten Island, for example; (3) 25 were overcrowded; and (4) none had class sizes as low. And the DOE has not offered to provide busing for the students.
In short, she was impressed that in most every other school closing instance, the DOE promises better schools to the kids attending the closed school but they didn’t in this case because there are only 3 in the entire city and only one in Brooklyn and they are full.
She asked the attorneys: What’s the balance of harm? What’s the worst that happens if the TRO stays? Do the kids have the benefit of an excellent school for another year? The city attorney tried to argue this would hold up assignments for 3000 kids in all the closing schools, but the judge dismissed this and basically said that’s absurd. All the other assignments can go through. (Actually, there aren’t 3000 kids in closing schools, but about 2000 kids in all the closing schools & 661 in elementary schools and none of them will be affected, but the kids at PS 25, whose parents want them to remain.)
She was also interested in the zoning issue that the CEC hadn’t voted to approve this; said what public input was there? The DOE explained there were public meetings, etc. where parents expressed their concerns. The judge said you don’t have to listen to them, right? Is that the DOE’s position?
Let’s hope the city doesn’t appeal. We are also going to ask that they put a 3K and a pre-K in the school for the fall since there are waiting lists for D16 parents, especially for 3K. It’s probably too late for kindergarten though. Stay tuned! For an update, visit: www.classsizematters.org.
(“Best of” continues on Page 13, where the school’s top students are announced.)