By LILY WILSON
Last week, State Supreme Court Justice Kimberly A. O’Connor found that the New York Division of Budget (DOB) exceeded its legal authority by withholding millions in two-year grants to support improvements in schools designated in 2015 by the New York State Department of Education (SED). O’Connor ordered the DOB to immediately release the funds owed to the schools. The ruling responds to a lawsuit filed by parents of children in three of nine schools deprived of programs and services.
“As Justice O’Connor found, State Budget Director Robert Mujica’s decision to withhold the second year of the grant funds was arbitrary, capricious and without legal authority,” said David G. Sciarra of Education Law Center (ELC), attorneys for the parents. “The ruling also found the Budget Director’s illegal actions are ‘unquestionably’ harming children by depriving them of programs and services designed to improve school and student performance.”
O’Connor explains in his ruling the process by which SED designated twenty schools as “persistently struggling” under the school receivership law. Although within 2016 nine of the twenty schools had made improvements, it still remained clear that not all of the twenty schools were not receiving the funding that they needed.
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