City Wins Lawsuit on Parent Council Elections

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The Department of Education won a legal standoff over the most recent election of parent volunteers to the city's Community Education Council. On Thursday a group of candidates lost a request for a new election on claims the process was unfair.

"We are pleased that the court upheld the D.O.E.’s selection process," said city attorney Elizabeth Edmonds.

Eight candidates for parent councils, seven of them from Staten Island, filed a lawsuit claiming city's elections were unfair because they were given little access to the actual voters. The forums arranged by education officials were sparsely attended.

The eight candidates asked the city for the email addresses of the voters, the parent association officers who are also known as selectors. The Department of Education refused, citing privacy laws.

Sam Pirozzolo, who was running for re-election on Community Education Council 31 on Staten Island, said he was disappointed that the city denied him and the others direct access to the selectors.

"The D.O.E. gives out student information and parent information to any for-profit company or charter school organization that asks," he said. "Yet as a CEC member who represents the very same people and students, I can't get a simple email address."

Pirozzolo accused the D.O.E. of not wanting parents to be able to communicate with each other. "They want to make it as difficult as possible to be organized," he said.

It came out during the hearing that Pirozzolo and five of the other plaintiffs actually won their elections. It's not known when the city will release the rest of the election results.