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Appeals court stops closure of three Queens high schools

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Jamaica High School, Beach Channel High School and one of the Campus Magnet schools were saved from the threat of closure Thursday.

A state Appellate Court judge upheld the March 26 ruling by a state Supreme Court Judge that the city’s plan to shut down 19 city schools violated the law. The United Federation of Teachers sued the DOE after it decided in January that it would stop admitting students to the selected high schools and replace them with smaller campuses, despite overwhelming opposition from elected officials, parents and students.

“No one is above the law, and every court that has looked at this issue has ruled decisively that the Department of Education violated the law when it tried to close these schools,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement.

School’s Chancellor Joel Klein said he disagreed with the court’s decision but would abide with the ruling. The chancellor did not rule out attempting the plan in the future.

“As we move forward, the mayor and I remain committed to providing New York City’s students and families with better schools and more options,” he said in a statement. “To that end, we are proceeding with plans to open new schools in the fall, and we will continue to work, in accordance with the law, to close schools that are failing our students and replace them with small schools, which have been proven to be more effective.”

Jamaica High, Beach Channel High and Business Computer Applications and Entrepreneurship Magnet High were among the schools chosen for closure because of low graduation rates and unsatisfactory school report cards, according to the DOE. After the judge ruled in favor of the UFT in March, the city allowed teens to reapply for high schools and enter the schools that were slated for closure.

The students received a letter informing them that the school could be closed if the Appellate Court overturned the decision.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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