Judge declines to halt planned DC school closures - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Judge declines to halt planned DC school closures

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A federal judge has decided that school administrators in D.C. may move ahead with their plan to close 15 school buildings. Most of the closures would happen at the end of this school year.

A group of parents had gone to federal court to stop the school closings. Among the arguments made before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg last week were: the closings discriminated racially, they discriminated against special needs students, and proper procedures were not followed in the decision process.

On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Boasberg issued an order denying the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. That means, although the plaintiff's lawsuit may continue to trial, the school closures may go forward.

In a 31-page opinion, the judge said, "The public-education landscape in the District of Columbia has changed." To cope with the growth of charter schools and demographic shifts, the judge found school administrators are choosing to close "fifteen under-utilized schools ... in an effort to maximize resources and improve education citywide."

Judge Boasberg found, "...there is no evidence whatsoever of any intent to discriminate…" by school officials.

The judge said the "Plaintiffs have no likelihood of ultimate success on the merits of their suit."

The ruling is a victory for DCPS Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson who told reporters and residents that her consolidation plan will result in more educational opportunities in remaining school buildings.

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