Teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew does not want to spend a whole night at a meeting in Brooklyn.
Mulgrew is asking the city to clear a long list of scheduled discussions at the upcoming citywide school board meeting at Brooklyn Tech in order to focus on his priority: protests against school closures.
Right now the agenda includes, on top of the proposed closures, a long list that ranges from approval of 37 contracts to new rules about how schools involve parents and teachers in setting plans and budgets. Some of those changes are themselves contentious and could prompt lengthy discussion.
But the debate over the 20 school closings alone is likely to drag on long into the night. Opponents of shuttering the schools are planning to turn out in force to each take their allotted two minutes to denounce the plans. Already public hearings on the proposed closures have drawn more than 100 speakers per school in some cases.
Danny Kanner, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said the department received Mulgrew’s letter and is reviewing its suggestions.
Last month, the DOE responded to protests that the meeting’s original Staten Island location was too remote for many parents and teachers at schools slated for closure by relocating it to Brooklyn.
Mulgrew’s full letter to Klein is below the jump:
January 14, 2010
Joel I. Klein
Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, New York 10007 David C. Chang
Panel for Educational Policy
52 Chambers Street
New York, New York 10007
Dear Chancellor Klein and Chairman Chang:
The website of the Panel for Educational Policy indicates that, at its
January 26, 2010 meeting, the Panel will vote on a new procurement
policy as well as significant proposed changes to, among others,
Chancellor’s Regulation A-655 (concerning school leadership teams),
Chancellor’s Regulation A-660 (concerning parent associations), and
Chancellor’s Regulation A-414 (concerning safety plans).
At that same meeting, the Panel is expected to vote on the proposed
closing or truncating of twenty schools. Because the issue of school
closings requires lengthy debate and serious consideration that will
consume all of the Panel’s time on January 26, 2010, the votes on other
regulations need to be put off until a later meeting of the Panel.
The decision to close a school is one of the most significant that the
DOE can make. Each proposed school closing requires extensive debate
and deliberation. Indeed, the hearings that have been held so far have
been no less than two hours for each proposed school closing, some with
more than 100 speakers. It is reasonable to expect that the public will
want to voice their concerns directly to the Panel members since many
have not attended these individual school hearings.
Likewise, the procurement policy and changes to regulations pertaining
to school leadership teams, parent associations and safety plans are all
important and must be done carefully and thoughtfully. A single Panel
meeting is simply not enough time for the community to voice and the
Panel to consider concerns about the proposed school closings and also
deliberate about the proposed changes to the other regulations.
Therefore, at very least, votes on all business other than the closing
of schools need to be conducted at a later Panel meeting.
United Federation of Teachers