2004-03-26 / Front Page

Rockaway CEC Candidate Forum Set For April 1

Parent Groups Call For Boycott of Selection Process
By Howard Schwach
Rockaway CEC Candidate Forum Set For April 1 Parent Groups Call For Boycott of Selection Process By Howard Schwach

Region Five of the Department of Education (DOE) will host a meeting on April 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at MS 180 (320 Beach 104 Street) to give local parents a chance to listen to the 28 candidates who filed applications for the nine parent member seats on the new Community Education Council (CEC) that will replace Community School Board 27 on July 1.

The nine parent members on the CEC will be joined by two voting members chosen by the borough president and one non-voting high school student who will be chosen by Region Five Supervising Administrator Kathleen Cashin.

The Department of Education declined to provide the names of the 28 local candidates, but the information candidates provided on their applications will be available to the three "selectors" in each district school. The eligible selectors are the parent association president, secretary and treasurer.

Those selectors will attend forums and will be able to view candidate statements and backgrounds on a website that the Department of Education has set up specifically for that purpose. The website will reportedly not be open to the general public.

Selectors may submit their ballots by mail or at the district office. Mail ballots are to be postmarked no later than April 28. Voting at the district office will run from May 3 to May 11.

The new members of the CEC will be seated on July 1 and, at that time; the school boards will no longer exist.

It was reported on Wednesday that the DOE is paying the accounting firm KPMG approximately $1.5 million to oversee the election.

If a number of parent advocacy groups have their way, however, there may be no selection to oversee.

The Independent Commission on Public Education, a group of parent activists and community advocates, has called for the parent association officials to boycott the selection process.

A spokesperson for the commission says that the new groups will have no real power, especially in light of last week’s events, when the mayor fired three people who would not vote for his vision of retention.

"A boycott would be more powerful than any vote for a parent group that nobody will listen to in the first place," a Rockaway parent association officer who asked not to be identified told The Wave.

"If all they want is a rubber-stamp for the regional superintendent, then why are we wasting our time and effort," the parent asked.

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