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Budget, Education & City Services

Community Education Councils Resolution.

WHEREAS, Parental engagement is one of the most critical contributors to educational attainment; and

WHEREAS, After New York City’s school governance structure was reformed in 2002, the New York State Legislature created Community Education Councils in 2003 to “provide an opportunity for meaningful participation for both parents and the community”; and

WHEREAS, A growing consensus has emerged that the current system of parental engagement under Mayoral control has not succeeded, with Public Advocate Gotbaum’s School Governance Commission, the City Council Working Group on Mayoral Control, the Campaign for Better Schools, the Parent Commission on School Governance, the leadership of LEARN-NY, and even Chancellor Joel Klein all calling for parental input and engagement to be improved; and

WHEREAS, In Manhattan Borough President’s 2006 survey of CEC members, “Parents Dismissed,” 92% of respondents reported not being trained on one or more of their state-mandated functions, 50% reported that DOE never provided them with PTA contact information, 37% reported that they had not attended a hearing on DOE capital plans, and 61% reported that they had never prepared a report card for their school district; and

WHEREAS, Two of the main reasons that the CEC model has not succeeded is that the process through which CECs are supposed to provide input into educational decisions is vague and undefined in State law and because CECs are dependent upon the Department of Education for resources and training, undermining their independence; and

WHEREAS, New York City’s Community Boards offer a more successful model for community input, because Community Boards have Borough Presidents to provide resources, support and training, making them more independent from the City’s Executive Branch, and because Community Boards have recognized, formal procedures in law, such as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), through which they provide input into various City decisions; and

WHEREAS, New York City’s parent and school communities need and deserve an empowered voice in the City’s school system; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five supports Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s proposal to reform and empower Community Education Councils after the model of the City’s Community Boards, by giving the City’s five Borough Presidents responsibility for training and supporting them, and by creating a Uniform Parental Engagement Procedure (UPEP) in State law, with specific timelines for hearings and input into educational policy decisions and District-level decisions such as the opening, closing, and relocation of schools; and also be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five supports legislation to enact this proposal, sponsored by State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, and urges the State Legislature to reform parental engagement and empower Community Education Councils in any law that renews New York City’s school governance structure; be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five also recommends a meaningful partnership between CECs and Community Boards be fostered, to work closely together on issues related to zoning, budgets, development and school overcrowding.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 31 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstaining.

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