A group of parents going by “The Coalition of District 3 Parents” has sent a letter to Community Education Council 3 opposing that group’s plan to rezone Upper West Side schools. We’ve posted the letter below.
The coalition, whose members are not listed on the letter, says that the educational council overstepped its boundaries by submitting a letter to the Department of Education last week proposing its own plan for rezoning the schools. That letter shocked many parents, who spoke against the plan at a meeting last Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal, which reported on the letter earlier on Monday, said the coalition includes parents who are opposed to moving PS 452 from 77th to 61st Street. We received the letter, which was dated Sunday, Oct. 23, from a parent who opposes the 452 re-siting.
By law, the Department of Education is the organization that drafts rezoning lines and sends them to CEC3 for final approval. The Department of Education will still draft its own plan for rezoning by Nov. 3 and present it to the CEC3 for approval. But when the CEC made stringent take-it-or-leave-it type demands in its own proposal, it acted outside of its role, the letter charges. “By the Plan, which the proponents thereof clearly intend to be the ultimate plan voted upon in the coming weeks, the CEC (i) violated the Open Meetings Law (as defined below), and (ii) proposed a plan that is against the best interests of District 3 and fails to satisfy the DOE’s and CEC’s goals of addressing the overcrowding and diversity challenges faced by the District.”
The parent group is asking for extensive data, including emails and other correspondence from top officials, about this issue to be posted on the CEC3 website. If they don’t get it, there could be legal consequences.
“Should responses to these Freedom of Information Law requests not be provided promptly, we will commence a proceeding under 2006 New York Code, Article 78 (“Article 78″) and seek a declaratory judgment that the CEC violated the Open Meetings Law and acted outside the scope of its authority in proposing the Plan to the DOE in contravention of the Open Meeting Law.”
The Community Education Council is a parent board that votes on zoning lines and comments on educational matters. It’s the closest thing the neighborhood has to a school board but it isn’t one: it doesn’t have the same rights or responsibilities, and members are elected by other parents, not the community at large. We’ve reached out to Joe Fiordaliso, president of CEC3, wrote the following response:
“During my four years as President, CEC3 has always conducted itself properly and the recent letter to the Chancellor is no exception. Spurious claims only detract from efforts to relieve and prevent overcrowding, enhance diversity and combat segregation in our schools, and put all District 3 schools in the best position to succeed.”