With their plans to postpone parent council elections failing to placate critics, city school officials have decided to start the voting process all over again.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today that already-cast votes will be invalidated and the two-step voting process be pushed to next week. Parents will now be able to vote in the first part of the election, which is advisory, from May 18th to the 25th. The results from that election are non-binding and are meant to guide parent association leaders in their final vote, which will now run from May 27th to June 3rd.
Pressure to stop the election and start from scratch came from a group of vocal parents who felt that the Department of Education’s Office of Family Information and Action had done too little to publicize the election. They also accused OFIA of releasing inaccurate about who was eligible to run. Complaints mounted when the DOE initially password-protected candidates’ information, preventing some parents who didn’t have passwords from seeing it.
From there criticism became contagious. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio held a joint press conference earlier this week to chastise the city for thinking one week would be enough time to fix the troubled election. A group of parents also sued the city this week, asking for a restraining order to halt the elections.
The city’s press release:
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO RE-OPEN PARENT VOTING IN THE 2011 COMMUNITY AND CITYWIDE EDUCATION COUNCIL ELECTIONS
Parents will have an opportunity to Participate in the CEC Elections
Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that the Department of Education will open a new Parent Advisory Voting Period, to be held May 18th to May 25th. Parents will vote again for CEC candidates running for one of the 36 Councils: the 32 Community Education Councils, Citywide Council on High Schools, Citywide Council on English Language Learners, Citywide Council on Special Education, or District 75 Council. The results of the prior advisory vote held from May 1st to May 7th will be invalidated. The Selector’s Voting Period will now take place May 27th through June 3rd. All Community and Citywide Education Council members will be seated by July 1st.
“We place tremendous value on parent involvement in our schools and recognize that we should have done a better job managing the Community and Citywide Education Councils Elections,” said Chancellor Walcott. “We believe that holding the advisory vote again and pushing back the Selector’s vote will ensure that the elections are fair to our parents and that we meet our responsibility to seat CEC Members by July 1st.”
- The Community Education Councils (CEC) – The CECs participate in shaping educational policies in their districts. Their responsibilities include reviewing and evaluating schools’ instructional programs, approving school zoning lines, holding public hearings on annual capacity plans, and providing input on other important policy issues. Each CEC has nine parent members selected by the Presidents, Treasurers, and Recording Secretaries of Parent Associations/Parent-Teacher Associations in every district.
- The Citywide Council on High Schools (CCHS) – The CCHS advises and comments on educational or instructional policy involving students attending public high schools. There are ten elected members on the Citywide Council on High Schools, two from each borough. Each member must be the parent of a student attending public high school.
- The Citywide Council on English Language Learners (CCELL) – The CCELL advises and comments on policy involving students enrolled in English Language Learner (ELL) programs. There are nine elected members on the Citywide Council on English Language Learners. Each member must be the parent of a student receiving ELL instruction.
- The Citywide Council on Special Education (CCSE) – The CCSE advises and comments on services for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). There are nine elected members on the Citywide Council on Special Education. Each member must be the parent of a student with an IEP.
- The District 75 Citywide Council (D75 Council) – The Council advises and comments on educational policies that affect students with disabilities who attend D75 schools. There are nine elected members on the D75 Council. Each member must be the parent of a student enrolled in a D75 program.
Community and Citywide Council Members are elected to a two-year term. The election schedule for the 32 Community Education Councils, Citywide Council on High Schools, Citywide Council on English Language Learners, Citywide Council on Special Education, and District 75 Council will be as follows:
- May 18, 2011 through May 25, 2011 – All NYC public school parents can cast online advisory votes for Community and Citywide Education Council Candidates, by entering their child’s mailing zip code and OSIS number, which can be obtained from their child’s report card, ARIS, and parent coordinator, at www.powertotheparents.org.
- May 27, 2011 through June 3, 2011 – Presidents, Treasurers, and Recording Secretaries of Parent Associations and Parent Teacher Associations will vote to select the new Community and Citywide Education Council Members for 2011-2013.
- July 1, 2011 – Community and Citywide Education Council Members for 2011-2013 will be seated. The parent self-nomination period closed on April 22, 2011 for parents interested in running for a seat on a Council.