A ruling by a Supreme Court judge has put off the closure of 19 schools throughout the city, including Columbus High School and Global Enterprise Academy.
On Friday, March 26, Judge Joan Lobis ruled that education officials had failed to comply with a state law requiring the city to involve the public in closure decisions, making the January 26 panel vote void, and ordering officials to begin the process once again.
The city’s counsel, Michael Cardozo, announced they plan on making an immediate appeal.
“We are disappointed by today’s ruling, which, unless it is reversed, requires the Department of Education to keep open schools that are failing our children,” said Cardozo.“Contrary to the ruling, we believe that the Department of Education complied with the notice and public hearing requirements in the new law.The court did not take into account the extra efforts made by the department to supply the relevant facts and to keep all interested parties informed of the process.”
According to DOE, they are assessing what steps need to be taken in order to remain dedicated to providing better educational options for every child, and have no plans to change course for the creation of new schools.
Student at Columbus High School and Global Enterprise Academy, however, where thrilled to hear the news as they celebrated and cheered outside of Christopher Columbus Campus.
“All the kids are extremely excited.They fought so hard, as did the other schools in the building,” said Columbus principal Lisa Fuentes.“The whole community is thrilled.”
Councilman Jimmy Vacca visited the school on Friday to offer his congratulations and express his hope that this will send a message to DOE.
“I hope this is a wakeup call to the Chancellor and that they are sincere in giving us another shot.Instead of using this as an excuse to push back the closure, I hope he uses this as an opportunity to help the schools succeed,” Vacca said.“We want the children to want to come here and DOE has got to do that.Our students can succeed.”
This ruling marks a victory for the United Teachers Federation, which has been on the forefront of efforts to keep the schools open.
“This is a great day,” Christine Rowland, UFT rep at Columbus, said.“I’m excited, thrilled, relieved.It looks like justice has been served.”
©2010 Community News Group