2004-02-20 / Front Page

‘End Run’ Around Local School Boards

‘End Run’ Around Local School Boards

Despite the fact that state education law gives the 32 local community school boards the power to rezone the schools in their districts and the fact that those school boards have more than four months to live, Chan cellor Joel Klein has taken that power away from the boards in a change to the voluminous Chancellor's Regu la tions.

That change gives the regional superintendents the power to redraw boundary lines that affect the schools that children in New York City must attend. In the case of District 27, Regional Super intendent Kathleen Cash in will now make those decisions rather than the elected school board.

"The chancellor did an end-run around us," says Com munity School Board 27 President Steve Greenberg. "From a legal standpoint, the school law is still in effect and I believe we still have to right to determine school zones."

The issue is a major one for Rockaway. A week ago Wed nes day, the school board failed to enact a plan to set up a gifted program, called "The Scholar's Academy" at PS 114 and PS 105 and to make a number of local schools into K-8 schools.

With only six members present and two voting against the plan, the five votes necessary to carry the plan were not available.

Greenberg says, however, that the board will vote again at a special meeting on March 1 to approve the plan.

"We're going to vote despite what the Chancellor says," Greenberg told The Wave. "The full board will be at the meeting and the resolution will pass."

The meeting will be held at PS 225 (Beach 110 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard) at 8 p.m.

"We have followed the correct process for years and we will continue to follow the correct procedure," Greenberg says. "I would love the Chancellor or the Mayor to come to these meetings and watch the public give its opinion. They have to see what public input is all about."

"For the chancellor to take public input out of this process is a big mistake," Greenberg added. "It will come back to haunt him one day."

Chad Vignolla, the Department of Education's chief counsel, thinks the new regulation is a good idea.

"It is good practice and policy to take over the lame-duck boards," he told reporters. "Why in good practice would you bind your hands to people who were barely elected by a tiny fraction of the population, who may have no interest in success in going forward and who don't have to be accountable for what happens in those schools next year?"

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