2007-09-21 / Community

New York City Council To Study School Governance

Question Whether Mayor Should Retain Control Of Schools

The New York City Council today made public the formation of a Council Working Group on Mayoral Control and School Governance, formed in preparation for the upcoming review of mayoral control by the state legislature. The purpose of the working group, chaired by Council Members James Vacca, David Yassky and Robert Jackson, is to present Speaker Quinn with a set of unofficial recommendations that will help direct Council policy. The state legislation allowing for mayoral control of New York City's public school system is scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2009.

Membership in the working group is open to all Council Members. The working group, which held its first meeting on July 24th, has already held several internal meetings and will continue to meet on a regular basis over the next year. Beginning this month, working group members will be meeting internally and with both state and city education officials, as well as with organizations and individuals undertaking their own efforts to review and assess mayoral control and school governance issues. In addition, the working group, in conjunction with the Education Committee, will seek public input from stakeholders, including constituents, education advocates and community-based organizations.

"We at the Council must be constant in our oversight of the agencies and policies entrusted with the education of our children," said Speaker Quinn. "With the sunset of mayoral control rapidly approaching, we need to begin conducting a thorough analysis of its successes, as well as the challenges that remain. This working group will compile a list of recommendations to help us better communicate our priorities to Albany."

"When examining something as crucial reforms, we need to guarantee that all stakeholders have a voice," said Council Member Robert Jackson. "By consulting with parents, teachers, advocates and other community members, we will be better equipped to present Albany with recommendations that reflect the needs of real New Yorkers."

"Having served as both a School Board President during decentralization and as a School Leadership Team President at my daughter's public school under mayoral control, I have seen the ups and downs of both systems," said Council Member James Vacca. "The NYC Council has been on the frontlines in hearing from parents and educators about the changes at our schools under mayoral control. This day-to-day dialogue has provided us with unique insight that makes it important for us to weigh in early in the process, so that those closest to our local schools can advise Albany of the direction in which our school system should go."

"I am pleased to be a part of the City Council's working group," said Council Member David Yassky. "Productive discussions have already taken place, and creative proposals for school governance are stemming from these talks. I look forward to working with the community to create a cohesive new plan to follow our current mayoral control system."

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