2001-04-28 / Front Page

Legislature Proposes To Eliminate Board of Ed

Legislature Proposes To Eliminate Board of Ed

By Aaron Zeidman

On Thursday, April 26, after the Wave went to press, Community School Board 27 held an emergency meeting to discuss a bill presently before the State Senate calling for the total elimination of the Board of Education and Community School Boards.

Bill S3880, sponsored by Maltese, Goodman, and Velella would completely deprive the community of any participation in governing the schools in the 32 school districts. The bill transfers all the power to run the public school system to the Mayor. The Board of Education’s Chancellor would be replaced with a mayor-appointed Commissioner of Education, who in turn would appoint commissioners in each borough.

The meeting is to have been held to inform local residents of the drastic changes that bill S3880 would make in school governance, and to discuss measures that might be taken to prevent the bill from being passed.

According to Community School Board President, Steven S. Greenberg, "The community school boards have served as a conduit for the community in having a say in how their schools are run." Board members are voted on by the community, and serve as representatives of the community’s interests.

State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer said "The local school boards are doing a good job, and I would not be so quick to eliminate them." She also said that the school board as an institution is currently under review in the legislature, but that the solution proposed by Maltese, Goodman, and Velella would not likely make it beyond the senate.

"If we are going to make any changes, we need to make them now," said Pheffer, "but we are trying to address the concerns of the community and the community school boards. I have always taken the recommendations and suggestions of School Board 27 seriously."

State Senator Malcolm Smith claimed he had not seen the bill presently before the Senate, but that he was "a proponent for radical change in the Board of Education," and that he would be one of the ones to make it happen before the following school year.

Greenberg admitted that "the Board of Education could use some revamping, but that doesn’t mean we should throw it all away." He encourages members of the community to take a position on this issue and to contact their State legislators to make their position known before a vote is taken.

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