2003-03-27 / Other News

Kruger Continues Blasting City’s Education Reforms

with Neil S. Friedman
By Askia Amon-Ra
Kruger Continues Blasting City’s Education Reforms By Askia Amon-Ra with Neil S. Friedman

As the nation stood on the brink of war last week, Senator Carl Kruger, flanked by Assemblyman Frank Sed-dio and Congressman Lew Fidler, held court in Marine Park Intermediate High School on Stuart Street to explain his battle plan with the lawsuit he recently filed in State Supreme Court against the mayor and the city of New York to an auditorium full of concerned parents from districts 17, 18 and 22.

The lawsuit is an attempt by Kruger to block the mayor from "overstepping his bounds" by eliminating the 32 community district offices into ten new regional school districts.

"The mayor was supposed to reorganize the Board of Education, not eliminate it."

More than once Kruger referred to the mayor’s handling of the situation as part of his "runaway administration."

Under the new system, according to the Albany politician, local politicians, officials and parents are ignored. The new plan, he claimed, does not address special programs and funding for such programs.

Kruger also accused the mayor of bringing in "highly-paid consultants" from Wall Street "who have absolutely no knowledge of the public school system."

Admittedly, the senator added, the Board of Ed was not perfect "but nothing was to be altered until legislature revisited the issues."

Kruger filed the lawsuit last month charging that the public school reform plan "violates the School Governance Reform Act" passed last year by the State Legislature.

"The mayor and the chancellor have acted without the approval of the legislature, instead choosing to institute large and unwieldy instructional regions that create chaos…" Kruger said.

The city last week asked the court for additional time to respond to the lawsuit, which Kruger said "speak vol-umes about their inability to answer the suit in a meaningful way."

In another flap with the Department of Education, Kruger last week accused the Department of Education of placing "phony job ads" then filling $135,000-a-year instructional supervisor posts be-fore the application deadline. Kruger said that those new appointees were then invited to a costly working weekend retreat, "complete with tennis courts, pools and massages."

The senator asked, "Couldn’t they trade ideas over donuts and coffee instead?"

Kruger blasted this incident, saying, "Everything about the mayor’s new education reform plan reeks of possible lawlessness and corruption."

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesperson for the Education Dept. told the Canarsie Courier this week that when any meeting of the new appointees takes place, it will not be a weekend at a pricey leisure spot. He said it could even be held at the former Tweed Courthouse in lower Manhattan where the DOE is now headquartered.

"Any meeting of this type is strictly for working," Ortiz said. "Any funds earmarked for public schools will not be used. This will be financed strictly from private resources."

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