NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – Newark’s City Hall must provide a list of documents related to the multimillion dollar pledge by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to fix its troubled schools, a judge ruled Friday.
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The judge said the city must produce a list of emails pertaining to the $100 million matching grant from Zuckerberg.
It stems from a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey representing a group of parents and grandparents want more transparency about the donation.
But Mayor Cory Booker’s administration argues the grant is being administers by a foundation, not the city and that the mayor’s correspondence is protected under executive privilege.
The ACLU, in its lawsuit, argued that privilege can be claimed only by the governor, not by a sitting mayor. It argued that the public has a right to know how the grant funds are to be used and who is making the decisions on their allocation.
State Superior Court Judge Rachel Davidson’s ruling requires the city to produce the list, believed to enumerate about 50 pages of emails pertaining to the donation, by Feb. 10. The city could seek to block the publishing of some of the emails on the list, according to ACLU New Jersey attorney Ed Barocas.
A city attorney declined to comment citing the ongoing litigation.
Newark’s public school system is the state’s largest, with 75 schools and a student population of about 40,000, according to its website. The schools have been plagued for years by low test scores, poor graduation rates and crumbling buildings.
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