In an ongoing case on whether religious institutions can use New York City schools for worship, a federal judge today granted an injunction prohibiting the city’s Board of Education from enforcing its ban on any religious group seeking to rent space.
Following a court ruling last year, New York City rescinded permission for religious groups to use its schools on Sundays. That new policy was scheduled to take effect two weeks ago. Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska issued a temporary stay on the new policy last week, but a higher court said it only applied to the Bronx Household of Faith. Preska said in today’s ruling that it applies to the Bronx Household of Faith and “any similarly situated individual or entity.”
The state Senate voted Feb. 6 on a bill that would overturn the New York City policy through a state law. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, initially said he had major concerns with the legislation, but he later said he was open to negotiations. Additional court action in the case, however, has put any talks on hold.
City schools have been allowing religious organizations to use school buildings since 2002. They pay a fee that partially covers the schools’ expenses, according to the New York City Law Department.
This is today’s opinion: