'Deny The Waiver' Pushes Appeal Against Black

‘Deny The Waiver’ Pushes Appeal Against Black

By Meghan Keneally

February 9, 2011 | 4:23 p.m

Assemblyman Jeffries at the initial announcment of the suit in December.

Meghan Keneally

A coalition of lawmakers and child advocates will announce tomorrow that they will appeal a lower court’s decision to decline to deny schools chancellor Cathie Black a waiver that she needed to assume control of the city’s schools.

Since Black was nominated for the position of chancellor by Mayor Michael Bloomberg three months ago, she has faced much criticism from public school parents and education advocates who think her lack of education experience should prevent her from serving as the Public Schools Chancellor. Bloomberg had to ask Department of Education Commissioner David Steiner for a waiver for Black’s application, and it was granted in late November.

A group called the Deny the Waiver Coalition then sued to have the waiver revoked, and they are now appealing the decision from the lower court. The appellate court will decide on the appeal on March 15. Deny the Waiver Coalition has until Tuesday to submit its brief to the court.

“I think that the argument is very well founded. If the court simply applies the law and doesn’t look a t the case politically then I think it will pass,” said Arthur Schwartz, who is representing the Coalition’s case.

The Coalition includes State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and parents of public school students from across the city.

If the waiver, approved by Department of Education Commissioner David Steiner, is repealed, then Black will be removed from office. Schwartz said that the Coalition is not concerned about keeping the chancellor’s position vacant until Black is replaced.

“From everything that they’ve said, they’ve surrounded her with a bunch of people who are qualified to run the school system,” Schwartz said. “If they’re all as qualified as they say they are, which they certainly seem to be, then they can last for a couple weeks while they find a replacement for her.”

The press conference will be held at the Department of Education headquarters at 4:30 Thursday.