Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NYCDOE Goes Ahead With Agenda Despite Sandy

Gotham Schools reports that the NYCDOE is going ahead with its school location agenda despite the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy at the end of October.

Chancellor Walcott explained at Thursday's PEP meeting that they are on a strict schedule to meet all the deadlines that need to be met by law before they can go forward with their school closure/location agenda:

Kelvin Diamond, newly appointed member of the PEP board from Brooklyn, put forward a resolution to delay hearings for Brooklyn schools until 2013:

“We need to give people time to recover from this tragedy that we all have experienced in some way or another,” said Kelvin Diamond, the new Brooklyn borough president’s representative on the panel.
Diamond proposed a resolution to suspend all public hearings until 2013 for Brooklyn schools.

Hearings about four proposals to co-locate or shrink schools in Brooklyn were rescheduled because they were supposed to take place during the week when all schools were closed because of the storm. Hearings about another 6 proposals for changes to Manhattan and Bronx schools are set for between now and Dec. 20, when the panel is to meet next. The hearings must happen before the panel can vote on the proposals.

Diamond said it would be unfair to hold hearings when many Brooklyn residents cannot focus on changes to how school buildings will be used next year.

“They’ve been hit hard. We just can’t have a machine run through them,” he said. “I have a [Community Education Council] member who is grieving, who attended a funeral and didn’t have time to respond to a letter” from the city.

The other PEP members appointed by the borough presidents supported Diamond's resolution, but Chancellor Walcott and Mayor Bloomberg's appointees did not:

“Part of the balancing act we’re trying to do is be sympathetic to what’s going on in New York City right now.” Walcott said. “While we’re balancing that part of life, we also have to balance the reality that life does go on as well. Part of that is to make sure we maintain the schedule that will allow us to conduct the business.”

He and other officials noted that the city would run the risk of being unable to fulfill its schools agenda for the year if it waiting any longer than planned to vote on the proposals, which would determine where new schools are sited within existing schools.

 Manhattan PEP member Patrick Sullivan raised an objection to Walcott's assertion that the board needed to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible:

“It’s highly inappropriate” to hold hearings in the wake of hurricane, Patrick Sullivan, the Manhattan borough president’s representative, told officials.

“The administration is taking advantage of the fact that people can’t get to the hearings, can’t voice their opposition,” he added. “I would support the resolution not just for the specific Brooklyn proposals but for all the proposals that were moved to the December meeting.”

...

“So we have hundreds of thousands of people across the city grieving and we cannot defer the people’s business … but one person is sick, and we have to defer the budget vote for the school system?” he asked.

“We’re going to stay on topic,” a budget secretary responded, prompting a raised-voice squabble between Sullivan and Walcott.

“Madame Chair, may I ask my next question?” Sullivan said in almost a shout, repeatedly as Walcott asked him to stop talking.

“You’re not asking a question about the budget, you’re giving your opinion in linking people who are grieving to someone who was sick,” Walcott said. “Patrick, you’re not going to bully people. … Stop being dramatic and ask a question.”

“Why can’t you postpone the other votes because people are grieving?” Sullivan responded, prompting some applause from the thin PEP audience.

Gotham Schools reports that the PEP board went about its business as usual despite the objections of some members - even handing out a new contract to a tutoring company found to have engaged in fraud by overbilling the city for millions of dollars.

Just as I posted yesterday, I figured the NYCDOE would be going on with its school closure/charter opening/co-location agenda like nothing had ever happened.

That Walcott had to be as blatant about the need to get the co-location/closure train out of the station as quickly as possible shows you how desperate they are to make the most of Mayor Bloomberg's last full year in office.

That Walcott accused Patrick Sullivan of essentially politicizing the disaster and using it to delay business as usual shows what a diminished human being he is.

Dead people in the neighborhood?

We don't care, we're going on with business as usual.

People made homeless, living in shelters due to the storm?

We don't care, we're going on with business as usual.

Schools damaged, students spread all over the city attending other schools (or not attending school at all)?

We don't care, we're going on with business as usual.

I'll say one thing for the PEP board.  At least the borough presidents' representatives forced Walcott and Bloomberg's toadies to go on the record showing how much disdain they have for the children, parents, and teachers of this city.

Nothing is going to get in the way of their agenda - not even a natural disaster that displaced so many families and students across the city from their homes, jobs and schools.

3 comments:

  1. I wish this information would be more widely disseminated to the public so that they would realize how insane this whole thing is.

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    1. I totally agree. The neo-liberals like to live in the dark and do their work away from the cameras and the attention. They only need the media for the initial "crisis" mode - the "clean-up" and "reconstruction efforts" all get done in backrooms. And that is what is going on here. Walcott would love empty PEP meetings the rest of the year - easier to push through his agenda.

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