Weprin, Liu propose changes to city’s education panel

Dmytro Fedowskyj (l.), Borough President Helen Marshall's appointee to the city Panel for Educational Policy, and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott participate in a meeting last year when the panel voted to close seven Queens high schools. There are two proposals out to restructure the panel.
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State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) and city Comptroller John Liu each have a proposal on the table to reform the controversial Panel for Educational Policy, which has been criticized as a rubber stamp for the mayor’s school-closing policy.

When Albany wrested power from the city Board of Education in 2002, it put in its place the PEP, which is made up of five members appointed by each of the city’s borough presidents and eight members appointed by the mayor.

Among its duties, the panel votes on the city Department of Education’s proposals to close or make significant changes at schools. Despite near-unanimous criticism from communities in Queens, the panel voted last year to close seven borough high schools before the courts ultimately shot down the plan.

Weprin last week teamed up with city and state electeds to push a bill he introduced in the Assembly, which would split the mayor’s eight members in half, with the remaining four appointed by the City Council.

“This bill will create a board that is accountable to the community with the proposed appointee structure that will include parents and educators,” Weprin said. “The new board will have real input on how the New York City school system is run and an impact on school policy decisions. Parental and community input is paramount.”

The newly structured panel would have the responsibility of choosing the city schools chancellor, who is now appointed by the mayor. Bloomberg said he did not think the initiative would gain traction.

“This measure has failed time and time again, and we are confident it will follow suit this year,” he said.

Liu, who is considered to be a candidate for mayor but has not yet officially declared, released a set of proposals that would keep the mayor’s eight members but change the way they are selected.

Under his plan, a nominating committee would select no more than 63 candidates chosen by the mayor, elected officials, community groups, labor unions and universities.

The mayor would then select eight panel members, though he or she would only be able to choose four mayoral nominees.

Liu would also like to see an end to the policy that allows the state Education Department to grant waivers for potential chancellors who do not meet the position’s requirements. All three chancellors under the Bloomberg administration received waivers.

The mayor did not comment on Liu’s proposals.

Albany renewed mayoral control in 2009 and the current law is set to expire in the summer of 2015.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 8:48 pm, February 7, 2013
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Reader feedback

Brian Gavin from Ridgewood says:
The current PEP panel not only has ignored the appeals of thousands of parents, students, and teachers to not collocate or close their schools; it is responsible for approving people like Cathy Black as Chancellor. The politicians work for the people, not the other way around. It's time for you to go, Mayor Bloomberg, and the PEP with you.
Feb. 18, 2013, 8:12 pm
R. Howard from Middle Village says:
The PEP meetings are unbelievable. Teachers, students, parents, city council members, as well as State leaders speak out in support of the schools and against the school closings. But in the end the PEP board ALWAYS vote against the will of the people and against the schools. Its clearly NOT democracy-- but instead the will of a Mayor run a muck
Feb. 18, 2013, 9:49 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
Walcott is a rubber stamp stooge for the very effeminate speaking,lisping,closeted King Bloomberg whose preoccupation with destroying the schools is only superceded by his curious campaigning on behalf of "so called gay marriage" Come out of the closet King Bloomberg. YOur adoring public, the schmucks who voted for you 3 times will still love you even in light of your perverted weekend proclivities in Bermuda with those young male aides.Why your at it, have a large soda in a styrafoam cup and put a little extra salt on your fries you schmuck!
Feb. 23, 2013, 11:19 am

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