Joint Legislative Forum on School Governance Reform October 8, 2013 - Public Testimony is Invited

(Brooklyn, New York): Responding to the public’s call for greater transparency of the NYC public education system, state lawmakers will hold a legislative forum to solicit comment on legislation that proposes sweeping school governance reform (S.1406/A.792).

The bill seeks to restore a Democratic system of checks and balances by changing the composition of the Board of Education, ending mayoral control of the school system, and giving parents greater involvement in education policy creation and decision making.

“Our schools must be put back in the hands of educational professionals who have a deep understanding of our children’s needs – and the skills to produce positive educational outcomes,” said Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who is the lead sponsor of the bill.   

WHO:         NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn)
                     NYS Senator Bill Perkins (D-Harlem)
                     NYS Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens)

WHEN:       Tuesday, October 8, 2013; 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE:     St. Francis College, Founders Hall (1st Floor), 180 Remsen Street Brooklyn, New York


Purpose:  (1) To distribute the appointing authority of the members of the Board of Education of the City of  New York among each borough president, City Council, and Mayor of NYC, (2) to give parents and education professionals a greater voice in the process, and (3) to grant the authority to appoint the city school district chancellor to the Board.
·    Each borough president would continue to appoint one member, and each member would have to be a parent of a child in the NYC public school system.
·    The City Council would appoint four members as follows: (1) A representative of a college, (2) A member of a parent’s organization, (3) A member of a parent’s Educational Council, (4), A member to be appointed at large.
·    The Mayor would appoint four members who would have to be residents of one of the five boroughs, and at least one appointee would have to have a child in public school.

Reasons to support:
·    This legislation will require that the New York City Board of Education be comprised of individuals appointed by several entities.  
·    This fact, coupled with the proposal that the Board appoint the city school district chancellor, will allow the Board to operate as an independent entity apart from the office of the NYC mayor.
·    By removing mayoral control over the selection of the chancellor, there will be checks and balances and a chance for public review of decisions made by the Board to ensure transparency and accountability.
·    Additionally, this bill will allow those with a vested interest in education, such as parents of school children and those in higher education, to be directly involved in the policy creation and decision making of the education system.

The October 8 Legislative Forum is open to the public. Persons wishing to comment on the legislation should RSVP to Senator Montgomery’s office at 718-643-6140. Oral testimony should be limited to three (3) minutes. The submission of written testimony is welcome.