The Douglaston Civic Association and local parent-teacher associations are set to host Judith Chin, the superintendent-designate for northeast Queens' new instructional division, at a public meeting on the mayor's school restructuring plan Tuesday.
Douglaston Civic president Eliott Socci said he hoped to attract hundreds of people to the meeting to impress upon Schools Chancellor Joel Klein "that everyone is concerned about this and wants and needs information."
The meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the MS 67 auditorium at 51-60 Marathon Pkwy.
District 26, the city's top-ranked district, includes Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks and parts of Auburndale, Fresh Meadows, Floral Park and Bellerose.
Under the restructuring, Districts 25, 26, 28 and 29 will be grouped together into Region 3, one of 10 instructional divisions to be carved out of the city's existing 32 community school districts.
Chin "has been quoted as saying that she wishes to level the playing field," Socci said. "When you create a region that contains high- and low-performing schools, one gets the impression that she might be doing it at the expense of the high-performing schools."
Parents of children in District 26 have turned out in public meetings to protest the restructuring plan and demand specific information about how it will affect students.
Socci hopes to avoid discussion on the controversy at the meeting with Chin and focus instead on specific issues such as what her role would be, how new personnel such as business managers and parent coordinators would be hired and what relationship they would have with principals.
"This meeting is about education," Socci said in an interview. "There is a lot of controversy surrounding the new structure. This meeting does not address that controversy. I'm proceeding on the basis that this is going to happen and parents should know what's coming."
State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) introduced legislation last week that would prevent the elimination of the districts by requiring that the 32 superintendents, staff and district offices be maintained.
Melvyn Meer, head of Community Board 11's ad hoc education committee and a staunch opponent of the elimination of District 26, disagreed with Socci's view that the restructuring was inevitable.
"I don't anticipate (Chin) assuming that position," said Meer, referring to her role as superintendent of Region 3. "I think Frank Padavan's legislation will carry."
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2003 Community News Group
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