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Purpose

 

Members of the Committee will hear testimony from interested parties to help inform their decision making with regard to the future governance of the New York City School system.

The school governance law which gave the Mayor of New York authority to operate the city’s public schools was enacted by the New York State Legislature in 2002.  This law is set to expire on June 30, 2009. 

Recognizing the need for public input from all stakeholders, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith created a Task Force on New York City School Governance.  The nine-member task force, led by co-chairs Senator Martin Malave Dilan and Senator Shirley Huntley heard testimony from a diverse group of parents, teachers, school administrators, union representatives and other interest groups at seven public hearings that were held throughout the City of New York from August 2008 to February 2009. While there was general consensus among stakeholders that some form of mayoral control should be retained, significant modifications to the structure were viewed as essential to improving educational outcomes for the city’s  1.1 million public school students. 

In April 2009, Senate Education Committee Chair Suzi Oppenheimer convened three meetings where members of the New York City delegation shared their perspectives on the current governance system.  

The purpose of this hearing is to solicit recommendations on how the law should be revised to ensure the governance system contains additional checks and balances and provides more meaningful input from parents and communities into the decisions that affect their schools.  

Participants are urged to respond to the following questions:

(1) What changes need to be made in the governance structure of the city school system to ensure a greater level of transparency and accountability?

(2) What body(ies) should be given statutory responsibility for monitoring the finances and assessing the performance of the city school system?

(3) How can the decision-making process be strengthened to give parents, teachers and other stake-holders a voice at school, district and citywide levels?

Persons wishing to present testimony at the hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form by May 18, 2009.  It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of postponement or cancelation of the hearing.  

Witnesses are asked to keep oral testimony to no more than ten minutes.  Written testimony will also be accepted and may be sent to the contact person listed on the reply form.  In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committees will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances.  If you are testifying, please submit ten copies of any prepared testimony at the hearing registration desk.  In order to further publicize the hearing, please inform interested parties if the Committees’ interest in receiving written testimony from all sources. 

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the New York State Senate and Assembly have made their facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities.  Accommodation will be provided to individuals with disabilities upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Senate and Assembly facilities and activities.