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Parent group says it will file separate suit challenging closures

More litigation could be targeted at Tweed’s plans to close struggling schools, even as one lawsuit seems to be headed toward an amicable settlement.

The New York City Parents Union announced this afternoon that it plans to file a separate lawsuit against the Department of Education, charging that its policy of closing low-performing schools and co-locating charter schools in district space was illegal. The lawsuit, according to the announcement, would effectively stop all school closure and co-locations from moving forward.

“We, the public school parents, challenge the cynical chicanery of Chancellor Walcott and the DOE. We reject the privatization agenda supported by Mayor Bloomberg and his appointees. Our children deserve the best education and a supportive administration, and we will fight for all children to receive equal access to a quality education,” the statement said.

The lawsuit would also seek to reverse charter school co-locations because they aren’t charged market rent for space in district school buildings.

Charter schools are publicly funded by operated outside of the Department of Education.

It is not clear when the lawsuit will be filed. The legal effort is being led by Chris Owens and Arthur Z. Schwartz, of Advocates for Justice, a legal advocacy organization, and Mona Davids, of the parents union, a relatively new group that Davids founded.

The suit comes after several reports that the teachers union and NAACP, two plaintiffs on a lawsuit filed last month, appear to be working toward a settlement with the Department of Education that would allow school closures and charter school co-locations to proceed as planned in the fall.

Over the last several weeks, the Department of Education has revised many of its co-location plans to allot more space to district schools that already exist in buildings. Geoffrey Canada and Charlie Rangel have also joined the talks as brokers of a potential settlement.

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