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Queens Chronicle

Coordination, not conspiracy, at IS 59

DOE now says scheduling needs caused last-minute notice for 6/6

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Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:20 am, Thu Jul 3, 2014.

After 17 days, the Department of Education said on Monday that coordination — not conspiracy — was to blame for any timing and notification glitches connected with a heated community meeting at IS 59 on June 6.

The meeting, which was not a hearing, was aimed at informing the public about progress toward integrating the Success Academy charter institution that will be opening in the building this coming September.

PS 176 also will be sharing the building for the next two years.

Parents at IS 59 and area leaders were furious that notice of the meeting, which took place at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 6, was not initiated until well into the afternoon of June 4.

The office of Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), for example, was notified by email at 4:41 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4.

Complicating matters further was the fact that IS 59 was closed on June 5.

The co-location was immensely unpopular when it was announced last year, with more than 300 people coming out to a public hearing last fall.

Miller and several others called the two-days’ notice unacceptable. Others expressed belief that the timing was suspicious, given the reaction last fall, and aimed at keeping attendance and community participation down on June 6.

A statement from the DOE said the delayed notification was strictly a result of last-minute scheduling issues, and the difficulty of coordinating schedules of three schools, three principals, a superintendant and senior officials from the Department of Education.

The DOE also stressed that information was spread as widely and as quickly as possible to the Community Education Council, leaders in District 29, and elected officials.

It also reiterated that as the meeting was not a public hearing, there are no notice requirements.

The DOE communique was the first response to a series of emails and phone calls from the Chronicle beginning on June 9.

Left unanswered were questions emailed to the DOE seeking the name of the person who signed off on the scheduling of the meeting; and when District 29 Superintendant Lenon Murray and IS 59 Principal Carleton Gordon were notified of the meeting and how they were notified.

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