Judge’s Rules Board violated Brown’s Law in Lowell High’s admission change – SFBay
A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the San Francisco Board of Education violated the state’s Brown Law for Government Transparency earlier this year as it sought to change the process of Lowell High School merit-based admission in a lottery process.
In his ruling on Thursday, Judge Ethan Schulman found that the board had violated Brown’s Law, which requires local government bodies to hold open and public meetings, by failing to publish an agenda for the meeting on February 9 with an adequate description of the resolution that sought to change. the school’s admission policy.
However, Schulman said his decision did not directly order the San Francisco School Board and Unified School District to reinstate Lowell’s old admissions policy, but instead declared the original resolution to be “null and void. avenue ”.
Although the school’s old merit-based system appears to be back in effect, if the district and school board still wish to proceed with the change in admissions policy, they can do so by bringing back the resolution and holding a public hearing under Brown’s Law, Schulman said.
He told the court:
“I put this resolution aside after finding it null and void. … What the board does as a result depends on the board. And, as I indicated in the ordinance, it is not impossible, or at least it does not seem impossible to me, that they give up on this matter and have the well-noticed and well-organized public meeting that could end. that they resume the same action. But it’s not up to them to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do as a result of the court order.
In February, the school board voted to change the school’s admission process from an academic system to a lottery system, which is the regular process used for all high schools in the district. Although for decades before the high school had selected students based on the GPA, the commissioners said the change was a response to the persistent racism that was being reported at the school.
The change, which went into effect for the current 2021-2022 school year, was supported by the Lowell’s Black Student Union, the SFUSD African American Parent Advisory Council and the SF Alliance of Black School Educators.
However, following the ruling, the Lowell Alumni Association, the Friends of Lowell Foundation and the Asian American Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit, alleging that the ruling was rushed and violated Brown’s Law. As part of the lawsuit, the plaintiffs sought an injunction to force the school board to reverse the decision.
In a statement, Lowell Alumni Association president Kate Lazarus said:
“We are satisfied with today’s decision.
“The court acknowledged that the Board of Education used a flawed process to change Lowell’s admissions policy. San Francisco students and families deserve transparent, inclusive and fair public meetings. The Lowell Alumni Association will continue to uphold these principles every step of the way to ensure Lowell remains one of the best public high schools in the United States.