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Missing from story of courts' constraint of Bloomberg: schools

The New York Times has realized the biggest lesson that we took away from 2012: Mayor Bloomberg can’t always get what he wants.

But it neglected to look toward Bloomberg’s Department of Education for proof.

Days after a legal ruling that blocks Bloomberg from carrying out his sugary-drinks ban, the Times tallied other recent instances when Bloomberg’s grand plans have been stymied. From the story:

Adverse rulings have become a recurring impediment for a mayor accustomed to getting his way. Courts or administrative regulators have blocked the Bloomberg administration from mandating fuel emissions standards in New York City’s taxicabs, expanding street-hail car service beyond Manhattan, and changing eligibility requirements for homeless people seeking shelter.

Add “closing struggling schools” to that list. It was just three months into Bloomberg’s third term when a judge ruled that the way the Department of Education proposed school closures had broken the law. Nineteen schools stayed open for another year.

A similar lawsuit in 2011 was unsuccessful in halting another round of school closures. But then, last year, a labor arbitrator determined — and explained in withering language — that the city’s strategy to “turn around” 24 struggling schools violated its contracts with the teachers and principals unions. The city appealed the decision in court but was quickly shut down.

Also last year, supporters of two charter schools that the city wanted to close sued and won. Both Williamsburg Charter High School and Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School remain open.

In non-school closure setbacks, Bloomberg has lost multiple rounds of a protracted legal battle to stop the city from having to release records about the process (or, potentially, the lack thereof) that led to Cathie Black’s three-month stint as schools chancellor in 2011.

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