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NY STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT COMPLICIT IN CITY’S VIOLATION OF PARENT INPUT LAW

May 29, 2013

New York City public school parents have turned the spotlight on State Education Commissioner John B. King and the New York State Education Department, charging that the state, like the city, has violated the Contract for Excellence (C4E) law.

On May 10, a second lawsuit was filed regarding implementation of the C4E law, this time against Commissioner King and the State Education Department. 

In March, parents charged New York City Chancellor of Education Dennis M. Walcott and the NYC Department of Education (DOE) with ignoring the law, which mandates public involvement in development of the C4E spending plan for each school year.  The parents in both lawsuits are represented by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), a project of Education Law Center.

“For several years now, the accountability provisions inherent in the state’s Contract for Excellence law have been ignored by both the State and City Education Departments,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters. “The state has failed to require that the city hold borough hearings about the spending of C4E funds.”

“It is no wonder, then, that no one really knows what the city has done with more than $500 million in annual C4E funds, and that class sizes have ballooned, despite the C4E mandate that they be reduced,” Haimson added.

In fact, over the past two years, the DOE has failed to hold any borough-wide hearings on New York City’s C4E plan, said Wendy Lecker, CFE Senior Attorney. The recently filed petition charges that New York State’s Education Commissioner abets the DOE’s bad behavior. 

Despite the legal mandate, Commissioner King has consistently permitted districts to delay public hearings until after the school year has already begun, preventing the public from providing timely input on the spending plans and undermining the goal of the law.

“Having meaningful input into how the C4E dollars are spent is one of the most empowering and important things that we can do as parents and advocates for the children of New York City,” said Isaac Carmignani, co-president of the Community Education Council for District 30 and a parent petitioner in this case. “It is imperative that our children get what they are owed. Coming from the sixth most overcrowded city community school district out of 33, this has special meaning for me. I look forward to being able to provide meaningful input at timely hearings in the future.”

 

Related Stories:

NYC EDUCATION OFFICIALS SUED FOR SHUTTING OUT PUBLIC FROM SCHOOL SPENDING PLAN

 

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24