Thursday, March 25, 2010

Patrick Sullivan on PEP highlights from Tuesday on Staten Island:

The mayoral bloc + Staten Island had nine members so they swept all the votes easily.

Chancellor's report --

All about grad rates. I asked about abuse of credit recovery, discharge rates, cheating/regrading on Regents. Chancellor dismissed all these concerns, said they'd be happy to disclose whatever data is relevant but said they don't can't measure the extent to which credit recovery is used.

Changes in utilization, co-locations and closures --

These items drew extensive public comment:

* Move of University Heights HS to the South Bronx
* The Eagle Academy siting in IS 59, Queens
* Charter school in Goldie Maple School, Queens
* New school in Washington Irving HS building, Manhattan

Anna Santos from the Bronx was in a car accident and could not attend. She is doing fine. A large contingent of people from the University Heights School community protested the move of their school off the Bronx Community College campus and the failure of DOE to find them suitable space nearby. In Anna's absence, I read a statement on her behalf stating opposition to the move of University Heights HS and closure of the construction trades program at Alfred Smith HS.

Washington Irving HS community protested the siting of another school in their building which will curtail their growth and recovery.

Goldie Maple Academy community opposed the insertion of a new charter school in their building. In a very moving public comment, the daughter of Goldie Maple explained how she had been asked to come defend the charter school but having heard the testimony of the parents, students and teachers from her mother's school was torn about what should be done.

There was some excellent statements from the public. Monica Ayuso was great. Unfortunately, there were few people left when we finally got to the Panel discussion and vote.

With regard to charter schools and co-locations, I argued that it was clear from the night's comments and from the Chancellor's extensive correspondence with Eva Moskowitz that decisions about schools were being made by the Chancellor, his senior staff and charter operators without input from or consultation with the community. Klein and I had some back and forth until Chairman Chang cut off the debate.

All the votes on the above schools as well as the co-location of Democracy Prep in Manhattan's PS 92 passed with 9 "yes" and with 3 "no" votes or abstentions.

There was a bitter debate from public commenters over Eagle Academy. Members of the IS 59 community complained about the lack of consultation and about how the do-over vote was rescheduled at the last minute. Queens, having obtained significant concessions on the co-location, supported the proposal. Manhattan and Brooklyn abstained.

Regulations --

All passed with little comment. I thanked Mike Best for the improvements to the A-655

Contracts --

I asked about the use of Title II funds for training non-public school leaders and Kathleen Grimm assured me they had no prerogative to spend the money otherwise, that it was a required pass through.

I complained about the lack of process and disclosure for the bus contracts.

Bus contacts passed with my one vote against, all other contracts were passed unanimously.


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