Last week, Education Department officials announced that Chancellor Joel I. Klein intended to invoke his little-known emergency powers to place Girls Preparatory Charter School inside Public School 188 on the Lower East Side, disregarding a ruling from the state’s education commissioner.
But a spokeswoman for Mr. Klein said Friday that the city was reversing course and would search for another space for the charter school, pushing back the first day of school for the 125 Girls Prep students by as much as a month.
The chancellor’s decision to use emergency powers provoked outrage from many parents and elected officials, including State Senator Daniel Squadron, who has been a reliable supporter of Mr. Klein’s.
But education officials repeatedly defended the decision, saying that an official declaration would be written in several days. They said that none of the students enrolled in a special-education program, Public School 94, that also shares the space would have to attend classes in a different building.
But for now at least, officials are putting their call for an emergency on hold.
“After consulting with Girls Prep, P.S. 94, local elected officials, parents and advocates, we feel it is incumbent upon the department to exhaust all other options before issuing an emergency declaration,” Natalie Ravitz, a spokeswoman for the chancellor, said in a statement. “We still believe that P.S. 188 is an appropriate option as they have adequate space available and it would not result in a single special-education student being moved. But if we can identify alternative space for one year — whether private or public — we feel it would be the best outcome for all involved. So it is our hope that we will have this matter resolved for these students as soon as possible.”
Dig a little deeper into the Medina piece and we get to just why Klein reversed course, at least publicly (I still bet they're waiting for the furor to die down before kicking out PS 94 anyway):
The emergency power provision stems from the 2009 law that renewed the mayor’s control over city schools.
Sheldon Silver, the Democratic leader of the State Assembly, last week called Mr. Klein’s decision “blatant abuse” of the law. His vociferous reaction prompted some to worry privately that he would try to reopen the legislation over mayoral control.
Ah, there is the rub of it.
Bloomberg and Klein are bullies, but like lots of bullies, if you stand up to them, they'll cave.
Threatening to reopen mayoral control and take away the school system from them made them think twice about going to the mattresses over this school placement.
So going forward, maybe we need to start a movement to re-open mayoral control anyway.
Given the abuses of power perpetrated by both the mayor and the chancellor (and this emergency powers invocation to throw special ed students out for Klein's charter cronies was just the latest), given the failure of the "reforms" as measured by the 2010 state test scores and given the continued refusal of the mayor or the chancellor to listen to anybody else on policy, school placement/closures or financing unless threatened by lawsuit, it is time to TAKE THEIR AUTOCRATIC POWERS FROM THEM.