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No ruling in court date, decision on co-location lawsuit delayed

A highly-anticipated day in court in a fight over school closures and co-locations ended in a draw Tuesday afternoon, with both sides agreeing to keep a restraining order on any immediate plans for new schools.

Judge Paul Feinman extended a temporary restraining order against the city’s plans but said he needed more time to decide whether the plans should be halted permanently.

That means the Department of Education is still prohibited from moving forward with any construction or renovation plans meant to set district school buildings up for co-location.

That isn’t a huge concern at the moment, though, because school doesn’t end for another week. The earliest planned construction for a co-location is at Brandeis High School, where the Upper West Success Academy is slated to open in the fall. That construction is supposed to begin July 1, but in a separate lawsuit, Feinman ordered a temporary stay construction there as well.

Feinman isn’t likely to make a decision until after June 27, when the Panel for Educational Policy holds its next meeting. At that meeting, which some lawyers referred to as “D Day,” the PEP will vote on revised co-location plans for almost all of the charter schools listed in the lawsuit.

Three charter schools were dropped from the lawsuit, UFT’s top lawyer, Charles Moerdler, disclosed in court. He said the schools – Girls Preparatory Academy and Promise Academy 1 and 2 –  reached an agreement with its respective Community Education Councils, who then requested that the plaintiffs remove the schools.

Moerdler explained he did so because “they made an effort to try and deal with them as equals. There’s been no such effort from the others.”

Moerdler also made clear his dissatisfaction with charter school protests against the NAACP’s role in the lawsuit and he offered an ultimatum to them regarding a possible settlement:

“I will not meet with any of them until there is an apology to the NAACP. I don’t even want to talk to them,” he said.