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Queens Chronicle

Weprin plan would end mayoral control

Bill proposes new Board of Education

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:26 am, Thu Feb 14, 2013.

Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) has introduced a bill in Albany that would take control of the city’s schools out of the hands of Mayor Bloomberg and place it in a new Board of Education.

The bill’s main focus would be to change the structure of the Panel for Educational Policy, which would become the new Board of Education. Currently, the panel is made up of eight members appointed by the mayor and one from each borough, appointed by the respective borough presidents. That effectively gives the mayor an outright majority.

The PEP was created when mayoral control was implemented a decade ago and is the policy-making arm of the Department of Education. Last year, in the vote to close two dozen city schools — including seven Queens high schools — all eight of the mayoral appointees voted for the plan that was axed by an arbitrator after the United Federation of Teachers sued the city. Four of the five borough members objected.

Weprin’s legislation, carried in the state Senate by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn), would change the eight mayoral appointments on the PEP so that four members would be appointed by the mayor and four by the City Council. The five borough members would continue to be appointed by the borough presidents.

Of the four members appointed by the City Council, one would be a representative of a college or university; one would have to be a member of a parent’s organization; one a member of a Community Educational Council and one at large.

At least one mayoral appointee would need to be a parent of a public school student. The new PEP would also appoint the chancellor.

A recent Quinnipiac poll showed only 18 percent of New Yorkers approved of mayoral control of the schools, but only 13 percent wanted the city’s schools to be taken out of the mayor’s hands completely.

The vast majority — 63 percent — of those polled wanted the mayor and an independent body to share control.

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