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Judge halts New York City school closures

NEW YORK, March 26 (UPI) -- New York City's effort to close 19 schools for poor performance has been halted by a judge who said education officials violated state law in closing them.

State Supreme Court Judge Joan B. Lobis cited "significant violations" of state education law and ruled school officials ignored proper process in closing the institutions, The New York Times reported Friday.

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The ruling came in a suit filed by the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP to stop the closings, the Times said.

Lobis ruled the city, in its required Educational Impact Statements, offered insufficient detail on how closings would affect surrounding communities.

The city, she said, "failed to provide the detailed analysis an impact statement mandates."

Impact statements for the affected facilities must be reissued, Lobis ruled, before the city can continue its plans to find alternate schools for the 8,500 students at the 19 campuses, the newspaper said.

Admitting it would "create inconvenience" for those students, the judge said the court "cannot overlook what it reluctantly concludes are significant violations of the education law by respondents."

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