Seeking Local Veto-Power over DOE-Proposed School Co-Locations

Thomas K. Duane

February 29, 2012

On February 28, I joined United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, public school parents, education advocates, and many other City and State elected officials in announcing support for proposed State legislation that would give local Community Education Councils—elected bodies of parent volunteers—veto power over proposed school co-locations in their districts.  Currently New York City Department of Education (DOE) proposals to install schools inside other schools’ buildings must only be approved by the City’s Panel for Educational Policy, which has never rejected a DOE proposal.  All too often such co-locations create rifts between school populations that negatively impact educational environments and result in an inequity of resources for students within the same facility.  The proposed legislation would ensure that no school could be co-located with another, reconfigured or moved to a different site unless the Community Education Council for the area approves it.  DOE must not be allowed to move forward with such drastic proposals without community approval.