2003-07-17 / Top Stories

Law Replacing School Boards Allows More Parental Participation

Law Replacing School Boards Allows More Parental Participation

Governor George E. Pataki (pictured) last week signed into law legislation that will create a new community governing structure for New York City schools and ensure significant participation for both parents and community residents in the City’s school system.

"Working together with Mayor Bloomberg, we’ve made historic and sweeping reforms that will benefit New York City’s schoolchildren and implement greater accountability and respon-sibility for the education of the city’s children," Pataki said. "Today’s creation of the new community governance struc-ture will complete the final step in im-plementing those sweeping reforms of the city’s education system by ensuring that parents, community residents and citizens have a voice in how our children are educated."

Mayor Bloomberg said, "Improving parental and community involvement is an essential step in improving New York City schools. The creation of these new Community District Education Councils will encourage greater paren-tal participation in local schools than ever before, and having nine of the eleven members of each council se-lected by parents and parent-teacher associations is the best way to make sure that we are doing the right thing for New York City’s kids. I thank the Governor for signing this important legislation into law and working to improve our schools."

The new law creates a Community District Education Council in each community district, comprised of 11 voting members and one non-voting member. To ensure more parental participation, nine of the voting council members will be parents selected by representatives from parent and parent-teacher associations. Two of the voting members will be appointed by the borough president and the non-voting member will be a high school senior appointed by the school district superintendent. The City School Chan-cellor is directed to develop an election process for the parent and parent-teacher associations.

The community councils will continue to possess the former powers of community school boards and increase their role in community involvement. Among their numerous duties, the coun-cils will hold monthly meetings with the superintendent to discuss the district’s educational progress, submit an annual performance evaluation of the district’s leadership to the chancellor, hold a hearing on the district’s annual capacity needs and review the districts’ educational programs and their impact on student achievement. The duties of school-based leadership teams, including the development of comprehensive educational plans, are also in the legislation signed by the Governor on July 9.

The legislation also creates a citywide Council on Special Education that will consist of 11 voting members and one non-voting member. Nine of the voting members will be parents of special education students, two voting members will be appointed by the City Public Advocate and the one non-voting member will be a special education high school student.

In 2002, Governor Pataki signed into law the historic New York City school governance legislation that made sweeping reforms to the structure of city schools, providing a new and un-precedented level of accountability to help ensure a quality education for the city’s school children. That law eliminated the existing 32 community school boards in June 2003.

Today’s new legislation ensures that parents and community members will continue to have a voice in the operation of their neighborhood schools.

Since 1995, State aid for education has increased by $4.6 billion, a nearly 50 percent increase. During this time, State aid to New York City schools has increased by nearly $2.1 billion, a nearly 64 percent increase that exceeds the statewide increase and is almost three times the rate of inflation. Also, State aid per pupil to the City has grown by more than 60 percent since 1995.

During the past nine years, significant progress has been made in providing New York City schools with a greater share of statewide school aid. For example, in 1994-95 New York City’s share of overall statewide school aid was approximately 34 percent and the city’s share of statewide enrollment was 36.9 percent. In contrast, the city’s share of overall statewide school aid in 2003-04 is 37.1 percent while the city’s share of statewide enrollment is 36.1 percent, making the city’s share of total State aid exceed its share of statewide enrollment.

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