Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 years. Beth is the author of Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test (FSG Books) which grew out of a radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students. Follow her @bethfertig.
City Postpones Education Council Elections by One Week
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
After complaints from parents, the city has postponed its elections for community education councils by one more week.
Parents across the city had until Saturday, May 7, to vote for candidates in 36 different councils representing different neighborhoods and groups. But there were complaints about problems voting online, and some candidates said their names didn't get on the ballot.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called for the elections to be postponed. And a group called the New York City Parents Union was planning to go to court Monday to ask for restraining order.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott issued a statement Monday saying he had "concluded that the process could and should have been handled better."
Parents vote for candidates using their child's student information number. But their selections are really advisory. PTA officers from across the city then make the final decisions. The PTA officers were to have started voting Tuesday, May 10, through May 17.
In postponing the election, Walcott said that over the additional week the DOE "will work to make sure that information about candidates is distributed widely so that the process is as inclusive as possible. We expect that council members will still begin their terms on July 1."
This year, only about 500 parents applied to run for a total of 325 council seats — a decline of 10 percent since the last election in 2009. The councils have little power but they serve as forums for communities to register concerns with their schools. They can also decide on zoning changes that affect the catchment areas for local schools.