October 27, 2016
Just a quick update to let you know that on Tuesday, the Appellate Court ruled on our lawsuit against the DOE, and in a strongly worded, unanimous decision agreed with the Supreme Court that School Leadership Team meetings must be open to the public.
Here is the Court’s decision; and here is our press release. As the Court ruled, SLTs have a “basic statutorily mandated authority” to develop the school Comprehensive Education Plan, “qualify as a public body performing governmental functions, and, therefore, are subject to the Open Meetings Law.” In addition, principals must consult with SLTs to ensure that the budget and the CEP are aligned: “The fact that the SLT and principal must collaborate with each other does not, in and of itself, disqualify the SLT from being considered a public body performing governmental functions,” as the DOE attorneys claimed in their response to our lawsuit.
We also blogged about the larger implications of the DOE trying to close SLT meetings, and why this issue is so important if you care about parent participation in decision-making and the public’s right to know.
There were also articles about the decision in the Daily News, the Village Voice and Chalkbeat. Much thanks should go to retired teacher Michael P. Thomas, who challenged the DOE’s 2013 decision to close these meetings, Public Advocate Letitia James who intervened in the lawsuit along with Class Size Matters, and New York Lawyers for Public Interest and Advocates for Justice who represented us pro bono,
I urge you to share this important court decision with other parents, community members and reporters — and let them know that as of Tuesday, they have a right to attend any School Leadership Team meeting they please.
Please also sign up for our Parent Action Conference on Saturday Nov. 5, co-sponsored with CEC2 and NYC Kids PAC, where we will discuss other important steps parents can take to make sure that the DOE respects our legal and moral authority to have a real voice when it comes to our children’s schools. For more information and to reserve your seat, go to Eventbrite here.
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