Closing of Far Rockaway Charter School Will Go to Court

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A charter school in Far Rockaway in Queens won a temporary restraining order on Wednesday, halting -- for the moment -- the city's plans to close the school for poor performance.

City education officials announced in January that they would not renew the charter of Peninsula Preparatory Charter School, an elementary school that has received C's on the city's progress report for the last four years. While the school's administrators and parents point to signs of progress, and insist they are being held to a double standard, the city's Education Department has adhered to its position that the school has not met the goals outlined in its charter.

Now the school has brought the matter to court, winning a temporary restraining order and forcing the city to make its case at a hearing on March 29 at Queens County Supreme Court.

Although it is rare for the city to close a charter school, it is rarer still for the school to sue to remain open, though some have sought recourse from the State Education Department.

In 2011, when the city's Education Department decided to close the Ross Global Academy, a charter school on the Lower East Side, the academy claimed that the city's motives were political, designed to give preference to another charter school. It appealed to the state education commissioner, David M. Steiner, who rejected the school's argument.