Enacts the "New York City Panel for Education Policy Members Public Responsibility Act" requiring a quorum of the members of the city board to attend any hearing scheduled for purposes of allowing public comment on changes to educational plans for the school district of the city of New York.
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the "New York city panel for education policy members public responsibility act"
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
An act that amends the education law requiring a quorum of the Panel members to attend any public hearing scheduled for the purposes of allowing for public comment on changes to education plans for public schools within the New York City school districts.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
This bill amends the education law by adding a new paragraph (d) to subdivision 8 of section 2590(g) to require a quorum of the members of the Panel for Education Policy must attend any hearing scheduled for purposes of allowing public comments as provided in this section. In addition, the Panel may not vote on the proposal unless a quorum of the members of the Panel attended the hearing relating to such measure. Bill also defines "attendance", and "Quorum" for purposes of this new legislation.
The New York City Panel for Education Policy (PEP) is the highest decision making body for educational policy in the New York City school district. The PEP, as envisioned and structured by the legislature when mayoral control was enacted, is an independent body, empowered to make the final judgment and decisions on education matters including school specific issues. It is quite clear from legislative history, that it was the intent of the legislature to have the members of this Panel substantially participate in public hearings required prior to voting and taking final actions on policy decisions affecting millions of families in the city district. The current Panel members lack of attendance at the public hearings on proposals for significant changes in school utilization plans i.e. school closure, co-locations, reflects a subterfuge approach and a mockery of the democratic process required under state laws.
The rights of ordinary citizens to appear before the actual members of the body who will cast the final vote is an indispensable cog of democracy. Under current practice, parents and communities are being forced to express their concerns and views with regard to proposed changes to their school at public hearings held by a DOE administrator, not members of the Panel. This practice under Mayoral-school control has purposefully circumvented the legislature's intent to provide the public a direct voice to the final decision makers.
The Panel members who over 98% of time, vote approval of the Chancellor and DOE's recommendations without the required attendance and
participation are provided and convenient opportunity to shirk their public responsibility that comes with the oath of office. Enactment of this bill into law will not only clarify the legislature's intent, but also close the loophole and establish a mechanism that enforces the law and public responsibility of each Panel member.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
No known fiscal impact.
This act shall take effective immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7673 IN SENATE June 13, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to enacting the "New York city panel for education policy members public responsibility act" THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "New York city panel for education policy members public responsibility act". S 2. Subdivision 8 of section 2590-g of the education law is amended by adding a new paragraph (d) to read as follows: (D)(I) A QUORUM OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CITY BOARD MUST ATTEND ANY HEAR- ING SCHEDULED FOR PURPOSES OF ALLOWING PUBLIC COMMENTS AS PROVIDED IN THIS SUBDIVISION. THE CITY BOARD MAY NOT VOTE ON ANY MEASURE FOR WHICH A PUBLIC HEARING IS REQUIRED OR SET BY THE PANEL UNLESS A QUORUM OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CITY BOARD ATTENDED THE HEARING RELATING TO SUCH MEASURE. (II) AS USED IN THIS PARAGRAPH: (1) "QUORUM" MEANS ONE-HALF OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CITY BOARD PLUS ONE ADDITIONAL MEMBER; AND (2) "ATTENDANCE" MEANS PERSONALLY RECORDED TO BE PRESENT IN AN OFFI- CIAL CAPACITY DURING AT LEAST SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE HEARING. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that the amendments to section 2590-g of the education law made by section two of this act shall not affect the expiration of such section and shall be deemed to expire therewith.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15500-04-2