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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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