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Settlement allows mayor to pursue school reform

State lawmakers announced a settlement with city officials Tuesday in the lawsuit brought by legislators in February against the mayor and education department in an attempt to stop the reorganization of the city’s school system.

Under the deal, there will still be 32 district offices each with support staff to include a superintendent. The plan calls for 32 of the new 113 local instructional supervisors to take on additional duties and perform dual duties as superintendents.

The settlement eliminates all legal challenges against Mayor Michael Bloomberg and schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s proposed reforms to the city school system, effectively clearing the path for the reorganization to take effect in time for the next school year.

“I am pleased that the legal challenges to the reorganization of school districts have been resolved and that they were resolved in a fashion that is consistent with the spirit of the agreement that the chancellor and I came to several weeks ago,” state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) said.

“It is about time that the business of reorganizing these offices and rethinking administrative functions can proceed, so that we can focus on the primary task of educating our children,” he said.

The local instructional supervisors were positions created under Bloomberg’s proposed reorganization announced in January.

Plaintiffs in the original suit contended that the mayor had acted illegally in deciding to consolidate the present 32 local school districts into 10 regional instructional zones.

The compromise was worked out during a week of discussions presided over by Judge Doris Ling-Cohan between the city Department of Education and attorneys representing state Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Steven Sanders (D-Manhattan) — two of the suit’s co-plaintiffs.

Approximately 32 city, state and federal legislators joined Kruger’s suit during the past four months.

Klein said he will designate as superintendents the same 32 local instructional supervisors he previously indicated would be designated as district coordinators, a liaison position that will be linked to the bodies replacing community school boards.

The new superintendents will supervise 10 to 12 schools, the same function performed by all other local instructional supervisors, but also have offices in both the new Learning Support Centers and district-based offices. The superintendents will report to the newly created regional superintendents.

That means that as of July 1, there will be three people assigned to community school district offices: the superintendent, a district parent support officer and a clerical worker.

City officials also revealed the names of the 113 local instructional supervisors at the announcement of the suit’s settlement.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156

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