2002-10-05 / Editorial/Opinion

Sailing Into The Wind

Sailing Into The Wind

The winds of change have blown the elected local school boards right off the map. As of June 30, the institution known as Community School Boards will no longer exist. What will take their place? Nobody seems to know. A panel of politicians is working on that problem as you read this. The knowledge that our politicians are hard at work on the problem should give you pause. That can only be an ill wind blowing. The president of our school board, Community School Board 27, has called a meeting to discuss the demise of the boards. It will be held in a brand new school, MS 137 in Ozone Park on Monday, October 7 at 7 p.m. The very fact that this school exists points to the major reason why local boards are needed. The local board saw the need for the school, lobbied then Borough President Claire Shulman to push for the school, spoke to anybody who would listen at the Board of Education and negotiated with the School Construction Authority. Finally, they got it done. Who would have lobbied for a much-needed school if the local school board were not in place? Who would have made a fair assessment of the zoning for the school? Who would have listened to parents and school staff about the zoning of the school? The answer to those three questions is "Nobody." Some bureaucrat in Manhattan would have decided if a school was necessary and who should attend the school. Parents would have had no input nor would anybody else in the school community. The politicians say that a decision on a process to replace the school boards will be announced in March. That is cutting it close if citizens are to get their say about the plan. Most likely, they will not. That is a shame. In this case, the winds of change seem to be blowing hard and parents who want a say in their children’s education seem to be sailing right into that wind.


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