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Monserrate slams mayor’s veto on translation bill

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Bloomberg vetoed the controversial bill, known as the Education Equity Act, Friday more than a month after the City Council passed the bill by a 35-11 vote. The bill would require the DOE to translate all forms handed out to parents in a quantity over 1,000 to be printed in nine languages, including English, Russian, Korean, Urdu, Spanish, Cantonese, Haitian/Creole, Mandarin and Bengali. Councilmen have estimated the translation services would cost a total of $20 million.Monserrate criticized the mayor's decision at the City Hall news conference, which he said harms students and parents who are not proficient in the English language."Mayor Bloomberg vetoed this critical legislation because, according to him, enough is being done to reach out to immigrant parents who don't speak English," he said. "Yet, the numbers tell an entirely different story. The mayor wants us to believe that the DOE has done all they need to and any English language learner who doesn't succeed is simply one who falls through the cracks. Mr. Mayor, with over half of English language learners dropping out of high school, that is not a crack, that is a chasm."However, several councilmen, including Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) have opposed the bill and were pleased with the mayor's decision. Gallagher has said he opposed the bill because DOE money should be spent on books, paraprofessionals or teacher's salaries rather than translating documents. Vallone has said the bill sends a message to parents and students that they should not learn English.The veto was the first of the mayor's second term. To override a mayoral veto, 34 votes in the Council are needed.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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