Judge: de Blasio Must Open City School Meetings to the Public

Judge: de Blasio Must Open City School Meetings to the Public

Judge: de Blasio Must Open City School Meetings to the Public
April 23, 2015

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has ruled that New York City's failure to open city schools' leadership team meetings to the general public is “arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law,” according to a decision dated April 16.

The ruling, from Justice Peter Moulton, comes several months after Public Advocate Letitia James and the education advocacy group Class Size Matters signed onto a lawsuit predating Mayor Bill de Basio’s mayoralty. 

“This is a victory for school parents, teachers, and students across our city, who all have the right to be involved in decisions about their schools,” James said in a statement. “This is an important step toward restoring voices that have been shut out of our system and improving public schools for all.”

Education advocates have said that based on de Blasio's mayoral campaign, they had believed he would usher in a more transparent era at the city Department of Education. But they were disappointed when the School Leadership Team meetings, in which schools map out their goals, plans and budgets, were not always accessible.

Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, said the decision underscores the important role the meetings play in school governance, a claim the DOE disputed in court filings.

"This is a big win for parents and transparency," Haimson said.

A spokesman for the city Law Department said it was “reviewing the decision with DOE to determine next steps.”

Sarina Trangle
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