Brown v. New York Lawsuit Update: Historic Court Decision for New York Charter School Families

May 27, 2015 – Press Release

Herrick, Feinstein LLP represents the Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN) which, along with five Western New York families and charter school students in Buffalo and Rochester, filed Brown, et al. v. The State of New York, et al..

The lawsuit, which was filed in September 2014, challenges the constitutionality of the funding scheme used by the state to allocate money to charter schools. The plaintiffs argue that the state funding formula, which results in charter students receiving 60 to 75 cents of every dollar received by district students and denies facility funding to charter schools, violates the state constitution as well as unfairly discriminates on the basis of race, as 90 percent of charter school students are minorities. The lawsuit seeks a judge's order to compel the state to revise its funding formula and provide charter schools the ability to offer a "sound basic education" to students, as required by state education law.

Herrick partner Susan T. Dwyer and associate Leah Kelman are representing the plaintiffs.

On May 27, 2015, State Supreme Court Justice Donna W. Siwek denied the state's motion to dismiss and ruled that the plaintiffs' lawsuit can proceed as the parties, including the NECSN, have standing and have sufficiently alleged harm. "I think I can speak for every student in a charter school in New York today, and every other one who would like to be, in saying how encouraged we are by this landmark decision which acknowledges that charter school students have a right to ask the court to recognize their constitutional rights as public school students in this state," Dwyer said in reaction to the judge's ruling.