WASHINGTON (WUSA 9) --- The 15 District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) are inclined to close as scheduled, based on the judge's opinion today.
Judge James Boasberg of U.S. District Court provided his reasoning for why the plaintiffs do not have a strong basis for the claim that the school closures discriminates against students in the poorest neighborhoods.
Boasberg wrote that these students would benefit from moving to schools with better conditions instead of choosing to stay in impoverished, under-enrolled neighborhood schools.
The lawsuit against the DCPS Chancellor, Kaya Henderson, and DCPS "cannot prevail," according to the judge.
Chancellor Henderson said, "Judge Boasberg's opinion today allows DCPS to move forward with our critical work to improve all our schools and provide more resources across the District. It's an important step forward in this process and we remain optimistic."
Johnny Barnes, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, responded to the judge's opinion: "The fight has just begun."
READ ENTIRE JUDGE's OPINION IN THE ATTACHED PDF.
Last week, Empower DC, the community group who filed the lawsuit on behalf of DC residents, rallied and appeared in court to listen to the arguments in favor and dissent of keeping the schools open.
Judge states in the attached opinion:
"Yet every adverse policy decision does not yield a constitutional claim. In this case, there is no evidence whatsoever of any intent to discriminate on the part of Defendants, who are actually transferring children out of weaker, more segregated, and under-enrolled schools. The remedy Plaintiffs seek - i.e., to remain in such schools - seems curious, given that these are the conditions most people typically endeavor to escape. In any event, as Plaintiffs have no likelihood of ultimate success on the merits of their suit, they cannot prevail in this Motion here."
Attorney General Irvin Nathan represented the Chancellor and DCPS.
"In light of this finding, we think it would be much more productive if the community activists would work with the city to make these consolidations work for the best educational interests of our children and allow our educators to focus on that difficult task and not be diverted by meritless litigation," Nathan said.
DC City Council will be voting on the school budget on May 22nd.
Reported by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA 9 & WUSA9.com