Success Academy won a big victory over New City Schools in an appellate court judgement. Success Academy wanted to run a pre-k program free from restrictions set for by the city of New York. A judge ruled that the big charter school network is allowed to run their pre-k program without signing the contract with the city as a part of the universal pre-k initiative. Another sweet win is that the city must pay Success 720,000 in tuition reimbursement they refused to pay when the charter school wouldn’t sign the contract.
CEO Eva Moskowitz felt that the contract gave the city too much oversight into the operations of the independent charter network. She refused to sign. This refusal led to a two-year long battle with the courts. Moskowitz felt that Mayor Bill de Blasio never really embraced or respected that charter schools are supposed to be independent of the public school system. The city pre-k contract had restrictions that Success Academy did not agree with, like limiting electronic devices to 15 minutes a day or no more than three field trips involving transportation.
Success Academy opened three pre-k programs without signing the contract during the 2015-2016 school year. First, Success Academy sought help from the New York State City Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. She sided with the city, so Success went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled against them, so they went to the Appellate court. The right to inspect versus the right to regulate is what the decision boiled down to. State of New York has the right to conduct inspection of charter schools, but they do not have the right to regulate them.
Success has decided they will move forward and open their pre-k programs again. Since the lottery has already been run, they will have to wait until the next school year. They can plan for staffing needs for the new program. Moskowitz continues to fight for her charter’s right to operate independently from the city.
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