2008-10-24 / School News

Huntley Hosts School Governance Forum

State Senator Shirley L. Huntley, who represents Broad Channel in the legislature, joined by her Senate Democratic colleagues, held the most recent forum, as part of a tour throughout New York City to gather testimonies that will lead to legislative recommendations for the expiring school governance statute.

Mayoral control of city schools is set to expire next year. Before lawmakers vote again on the statute, a 12-member Senate Democratic committee has been meeting with parents, community advocates, and educators throughout the city to gauge the effectiveness of the measure.

"Families have a vested interest in the success of their children and so far many families have realized that mayoral control is about whether or not they will have a hand in the education system their children are a part of," said Senator Huntley, a longtime education advocate.

The Senate Democrat-sponsored Task Force was created to compile testimonies regarding the public school governance statute set to expire in June 2009. The controversial statute originally adopted in 2002 has been regarded unfavorably by parents, educators, administrators, and community leaders. State legislators are looking to pass recommendations that will guarantee sufficient education for city public school students.

Prior to the 2002 change granting mayoral control, the school system consisted of a seven-member board, one appointee from each of the five borough presidents, and two mayoral appointees. The board was responsible for hiring the chancellor, establishing policies, submitting budget requests and fiscal estimates to the mayor.

Since the change in control, education advocacy groups have argued that while the NYC Department of Education has made concerted efforts for parental input into the education decision-making process, most advocates and parents remain displeased with the mayor's and chancellor's ability to reject and accept any and all input from outside sources.

Senator Huntley concluded, "Parents of school children want and need the ability to influence the education process. We will continue these hearings to give families a say in what changes can be made to Mayor Bloomberg's commendable effort to improve the city's education system."

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