(CN) – A Manhattan appeals court blocked the closing of 19 school buildings because the New York City school district failed to measure the impact on the community.
The United Federation of Teachers, which represents 120,000 employees within the district, challenged the school board’s decision to phase out 19 buildings.
The trial court ruled in the union’s favor, stating that simply stating that students at the closed schools will eventually be absorbed by other buildings is not enough.
The First New York Appellate Division affirmed the decision.
“Even if each EIS (educational impact statement) provides adequate information regarding the ability of other schools in the affected community district to accommodate affected students … It fails to provide adequate information regarding the ramifications of the proposed agency action on the community and the students. The discussion of one point does not obviate the need for a discussion of the other,” the justices wrote.
They also ruled that the school officials had failed to consult community councils when they planned joint hearings.
“For the notion of a joint hearing to have any meaning, the members of the community councils … must be part of the process of structuring and conducting those hearings,” the justices ruled.