Justice Ellen Spodek

Williamsburg Charter High School sought a review and annulment of a decision by New York City’s Department of Education to revoke its charter. Intervenor petitioners, parents of the children attending the school, sought vacatur of the decision, arguing they were prevented from participating in a public hearing in violation of their due process rights. Respondents argued the schools chancellor’s determination was not arbitrary, claiming there was ample basis to conclude the charter should have been revoked. The court disagreed, finding numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in the decision. Also, it found that based on the evidentiary information provided, the school was not afforded a public hearing, thus it was not afforded due process from the initial probationary period. Further, the court noted while the city alleged the school had ample opportunities to remedy alleged violations, it appeared it did not extend aid in ensuring that the school would meet the requirements. The court opined it appeared the school “was set up to fail.” It found the chancellor’s decision to revoke its charter was arbitrary and capricious, vacating that decision.