Unsuccessful suits! Judge dismisses cases against Success charter schools

Despite protests, Eva’s charter gets space in Cobble Hill school
Photo by Alice Proujansky

They’re successful in court, too.

The Success Charter Network will open a school in Williamsburg and an elementary in Cobble Hill this fall after a Manhattan judge dismissed a pair of lawsuits seeking to block the politically connected and high-performing charter chain.

Scores of parents and civic leaders charged that Success Charter Network failed to demonstrate significant community support when it sought charters for the primary schools from the State University of New York’s Board of Trustees in both lawsuits filed in February and March.

But Judge Peter Moulton ruled last Friday that opponents did not file their objections to the charters in time according to state law — and stated that the law does not require Success officials to conduct exhaustive neighborhood outreach.

“The statue does not bar the issuance of a charter even where the relevant community mounts serious or even overwhelming opposition to a proposed school,” Moulton ruled.

Former Manhattan Councilwoman and Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz said the ruling was victory for families over “special interests.”

“In both Williamsburg and Cobble Hill, we found tremendous demand this year from parents seeking a choice when it comes to educating their children,” she said. “We’re thrilled that with these two baseless lawsuits behind us, we can do our part to provide even more students with a great public education.”

Attorney Arthur Schwartz, who represented the Success opponents, vowed to appeal the decision this week.

“We’re still going after their charter in order to shut down their operation in communities they shouldn’t be,” said Schwartz. “The law was supposed to require demonstration of community support and input, and a level of scrutiny beyond checking off a box.”

The Success Charter Network is slated to offer kindergarten and first grade classes in Cobble Hill and Williamsburg’s Southside starting in September.

This spring, the Success branch in Cobble Hill received 950 applications, 260 of them from families living near by, while the Williamsburg branch received 700 applications, 196 of them from families living in the Southside.

The ruling will also allow Success to advance with its plan to open a branch in Williamsburg's J.H,S. 50.