advocates for justice

open sesame

temporary reprieve

closure fight

Not over

New York

City breathes new life into a charter school it once tried to close

City lawyers are in negotiations to extend the life of a charter school that the education department tried last year to close, according to a lawyer representing the school's parents. Details aren't final, but the terms are likely to include an agreement to grant the school, Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School, an extension beyond this school year, according to the lawyer, Arthur Schwartz. The city and school are still negotiating how the school would be evaluated in subsequent renewal decisions moving forward, he said. Schwartz filed a second lawsuit on behalf of PPA’s parents in May, arguing that the city’s handling of the closure procedure violated their due process rights. A judge hasn’t yet ruled on that issue, but a restraining order meant the city had to abandon its closure plans for this year. "We won, basically," Schwartz said this week. "We won’t have a decision on what the law is, but who cares?" A spokeswoman for the city confirmed that the two sides "are discussing a possible resolution" but declined to provide more details. UPDATE: City law department officials said the court order does not necessarily mean the school is off the hook for the year. If the court were to rule in the department's favor later, the department could take action to close the school mid-year. An extension would be a significant about-face for the city. Citing insufficient test score gains, it announced in January that it would close Peninsula Prep when its charter expired in June. But the school's board of trustees fought back in court as well, winning the restraining order, which allowed the school to admit and enroll new students until the judge made her decision.
New York

For second year in a row, a new Moskowitz school is being sued

Sabrina Tan, a lawyer for Advocates for Justice, describes the firm's suit over a new charter school. Backed by a law firm that has battled the Department of Education in court repeatedly over the past year, a group of Cobble Hill parents announced today that they are suing to stop Eva Moskowitz's Brooklyn Success Academy 3 from moving into their neighborhood. Fifteen public school parents signed onto the suit, which Advocates for Justice said it would be filing today. The suit claims the city and Moskowitz circumvented state education laws when they abruptly changed plans for the school late last year. BSA 3 was originally approved for either District 13 or District 14, but the city revised its proposal in late October and announced the school would instead share a building with two high schools and a special needs elementary school in District 15. Opposition to the plan quickly mounted and reached a climax when protesters clashed with Moskowitz at a meeting she hosted for prospective parents in November. The city's Panel for Educational Policy approved the co-location plan two weeks later. It's the second time in as many years that a Success school has been the subject of a lawsuit from the surrounding community. Last April, parents on the Upper West Side filed suit against the city's plan to site a Success school on the Brandeis campus, charging that the network was not serving the needy student population that was written into its charter. The suit was dismissed just weeks before the school was slated to open.