May 15, 2012
City lawyers have filed their response to a union lawsuit that seeks to derail plans to move forward on 24 school closures. Both sides are due in court tomorrow to argue their case about whether a temporary restraining order on the closures should be extended.
The lawsuit seeks to prevent the Department of Education from following through on its decision last month to “turn around” 24 schools at the end of the school year. The plans include the replacement of up to 50 percent of the teaching staffs at the schools.
Lawyers for the principals and teachers unions filed the lawsuit last week, and the DOE agreed to halt all hiring until Wednesday’s hearing as part of the restraining order.
As we reported last week – and as the city’s response below argues – one problem the city has with the motion is that further delay to its plans could “cause disruption” to the hiring process.
The hearing will be for a preliminary injunction, so the unions will need to successfully argue, among other things, that the closures are harmful enough to justify an extended restraining order. They will also need to prove a high likelihood of ultimately winning the case.
Whatever the Judge Joan Lobis rules on Wednesday — if she rules at all (a preliminary injunction on last year’s closure lawsuit ended with no decision) — it will only be on the temporary restraining order, not on the larger merits of the lawsuit.