July 1, 2009
I’m conveying live reports from Philissa and Anna, who are at Tweed Courthouse, where the reconstituted Board of Education is having its first meeting in seven years. UPDATE: As of 1:30 p.m. the show moved to City Hall, and we’re still updating from there.
2:15 p.m. Meeting adjourned.
2:11 p.m. Bloomberg: “This is so obviously right, that’s why there’s unanimity.” He also just declared that New York City offers a model for how government should work.
2:05 p.m. Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx borough president, said he might want to convene the Board of Education before September 10. The Board earlier voted not to meet again until that date. “I’ve never had a problem with telling the chancellor what’s on my mind,” Diaz said.
That prompted Queens president Marshall to step in and announce she’s already convened a parent advisory panel. She said she dislikes Bloomberg’s third-grade retention policy. The last time school board members opposed that policy, Bloomberg voted them off the board as it was known under mayoral control, the Panel for Educational Policy.
2:03 p.m. “If we disagree with the mayor, there isn’t a borough president here who wouldn’t stand up and do something,” Scott Stringer, the borough president of Manhattan, said. Stringer’s appointee, Jimmy Yan, is a former attorney for Advocates for Children, the nonprofit that supports students with disabilities. He now serves as Stringer’s legal counsel.
2:01 p.m. Asked what he’ll do about community school boards, which are also supposed to resurrect under the pre-2002 law, Bloomberg punted. “How can we convene them?” he said. He said officials have not considered what to do about school boards yet.
1:59 p.m. “We’re trying to continue on as though mayoral control were approved,” Bloomberg said.
1:52 p.m. Bloomberg earlier thanked Helen Marshall of Queens for appointing Walcott. She smiled and laughed. Now the mayor is warning of a significant risk that the Senate will drag its feet, since the law has expired. He also declared that no chancellor ever lasted more than a year and a half under the old governance structure. That’s not true. Harold Levy, the previous chancellor, served two years; his predecessor, Rudy Crew, served for four.
1:47 p.m. Mayor Bloomberg is now flexing his foreign-language muscles, summarizing the situation en Espanol. Of his riot threats, he said, “It’s a euphemism.” Huh?
1:46 p.m. Randi Weingarten: “So I guess I should have resigned effective June 30.”
1:42 p.m. Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz fumbled, referring to the Department of Education. He then paused and said “Board of Education.” Even the DOE legally was called the Board of Education.
Bronx borough president, speaking at City Hall, was the only person to foreshadow possible disagreements inside the new Board of Education. “It doesn’t mean we’re always going to agree,” he said.
1:40 p.m. Before the mayor spoke, parent activist Jane Hirschmann stole the podium. “We want the voice of the parents to be heard,” she said. She has since been escorted from the room by City Hall staff.
1:35 p.m. Mayor Bloomberg, at a press conference at City Hall, said of the revived Board of Education, “These are Band-aids, not solutions.” He said, “The temporary school board has attempted to sidestep the worst consequences” of mayoral control’s expiration.
1:14 p.m. All board members have waived their salaries, says Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz. The law outlines $15,000 a year for board members and $20,000 for the board president.
1:08 p.m. Why Walcott? “He’s from Queens, he knows a lot about education,” Queens borough president Helen Marshall, who appointed Walcott, told Anna. “He’s still obligated to me, and if he crosses that line…” The borough president gave Anna a meaningful look.
1:06 p.m. The entire meeting lasted nine minutes, by Philissa’s count.
1:01 p.m. The Board of Education voted to endorse the Assembly’s mayoral control bill, passing a motion, 6 to 0, to support the Assembly’s version of the revised law. (Fernandez abstained.) Then it voted to adjourn until September 10.
12:58 p.m. Chancellor Joel Klein will remain in office, following a 7 to 0 vote of all Board members. Fernandez voting in favor this time.
12:57 p.m. Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott was just voted president of the new Board of Education, and Department of Education counsel Michael Best was voted secretary. The Bronx appointee, Dolores Fernandez, abstained from voting both times.
12:52 p.m. Carlo Scissura, the Brooklyn borough president’s Board of Education appointee, served on a community school board in 1999. Then he “led the district in making the transition to mayoral control” as president of District 20′s Community Education Council in 2004, a press release stated.
12:48 p.m. Meanwhile, James Merriman, executive director of the city’s charter school advocacy center, is in the room.
12:47 p.m. A Community Education Council president, for District 1 in Manhattan, is among those unable to get inside the meeting. Lisa Donlan’s CEC passed a resolution this morning asking that it transform into a community school board. The CEC also requested that its superintendent be appointed the community district superintendent under the pre-2002 rules.
12:44 p.m. A crowd of parents and others are waiting outside the room, unable to get in. See the photo on the right. Police shut the door to the meeting just after Philissa snapped that picture, she reports.
12:36 p.m. The meeting is in the same Tweed Courthouse room as Panel for Educational Policy meetings were held. But this time the audience gets fancy plush chairs with wheels. Used to be folding chairs. Philissa says Department of Education staffers are dressed extra-nice.
12:30 p.m. Weingarten to reporters: “The ironic part here is there were a lot of checks and balances in the Assembly bill that would have gone into effect starting today.” The checks would have specifically given superintendents more power in their districts, she said.
12:19 p.m. I just got a call from two parent activists who aren’t being let in and wanted to see if I could help. I can’t.
12:16 p.m. Famously tardy Randi Weingarten, who’s still president of the United Federation of Teachers for one more month, just walked in smiling. But no more people will be let in; staff say the room is full.
12:14 p.m. The meeting will start late. The Bronx borough president’s appointee, Delores Fernandez, is stuck in traffic. She’s the only appointee who’s indicated, via borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., that she’ll criticize mayoral control and Chancellor Joel Klein.
12:07 p.m. There will be no public comment at the board meeting. Haimson, with a laugh: “This is the real Soviet Union!”
12:02 p.m. Reporters and new Board of Education members have settled in their seats. Leonie Haimson just placed the book she and other mayoral control critics produced at every member’s seat. No one stopped her.
12:00 p.m. The room at Tweed is so packed that Department of Education employees have been asked to listen on loudspeakers outside.