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P.S. 25/Eubie Blake School

Judge blocks New York City from closing elementary school in Brooklyn

July 27, 2018
City education officials want to close P.S. 25/Eubie Blake School because of low enrollment.

A judge has blocked New York City from closing a small elementary school in Brooklyn after three families sued to keep it open.

Chalkbeat New York reports that Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Katherine Levine has decided that P.S. 25/Eubie Blake School should stay open while she considers the legal arguments raised in the lawsuit 

The families contend in the suit that the city’s decision to close the school was not valid because the local parent council did not vote on the decision.

“Once the school was closed it would be a fait accompli and highly improbable that the school would ever remain open regardless of the Court’s ultimate decision,” Levine's opinion stated.

The city's education department has argued that the school is too small to be viable and has seen enrollment plummet in recent years: P.S. 25 is on track to enroll 60 students next year in grades K-5, the city says.

The city’s Panel for Educational Policy, an oversight board that must sign off on all school closures, voted in February to close the school.

Typically, the city has wide authority to close schools, but the lawsuit hinges on a state law that gives local education councils the authority to approve any changes to school zones. Because P.S. 25 is the only zoned elementary school for a swath of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the department’s plans would leave some families with no zoned elementary school dedicated to educating them.

That amounts to “effectively attempting to change zoning lines” and “unlawfully usurping” the local education council’s authority to determine those zones, according to the lawsuit.

Even if the lawsuit forces the education department to abide by a vote from the local education council, the council’s president has said the council supports the school’s closure.

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