With dramatic changes in city education promised in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's state-of-the-city address Wednesday evening, the CEC27 President Andrew Baumann had some pointed questions for Klein, although he offered little in return.Baumann asked Klein to comment on the mayor's rumored plans to consolidate the city's 10 school regions into five "super-districts" that would operate in each of the five boroughs. Klein said he could neither confirm nor deny that Bloomberg had plans to reorganize the city's school districts by borough, but said the topic would be addressed during the mayor's speech. Such a plan would be of particular concern to Region 5, which includes District 27, since the region straddles the Brooklyn-Queens border. "You go boroughwide and we get torn down the middle. What happens to us then?" Baumann said after the meeting. School safety, funding and overcrowding were the chief concerns of parents and board members questioning Klein during the hourlong session. Klein was receptive, offering his personal contact information to parents with specific concerns, but stressed to them on each topic that progress and change takes time. Klein said his overall goals have not changed in the four years he has been in charge of the city schools, adding that the city was working on equitable and transparent funding strategies to guarantee that all children get a high-quality education. "Every one of our schools should be good enough to send your kids to," he said. "We have a lot of work still ahead of us, and I think we have to be honest with ourselves about that."The CEC also passed a resolution calling on the Queens borough president to conduct a zoning study on the district to determine if residential construction is outpacing the addition of school seats in the region. The board also called for a school seat requirement to be written into zoning law which would state that new homes cannot be built unless there are available school seats in the borough. Staten Island currently is the only borough in the city that has such a policy. Baumann said a policy like this "should work hand-in-hand with development" in any region in the city and that he hoped Borough President Helen Marshall would be receptive to the idea. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail news@times
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