Teachers and students from Lehman High School were among those protesting the slate of city co-location plans at Wednesday's Panel for Educational Policy meeting.
More than 60 parents, teachers and students trekked to Chelsea last night to beg Panel for Educational Policy members to reject a slate of space-sharing proposals.
As usual, the panel approved all of the proposals — but when it came time to vote on a series of contracts later in the evening, three were tabled unexpectedly after several members said they could not cast impartial votes.
Three panel members who were appointed by Mayor Bloomberg said their ties to the City University of New York were too close to allow them to vote on contracts relating to CUNY. After they recused themselves, an unusual occurrence, four panel members who comprise a consistent opposition block also said they would not cast votes on the contract, making it impossible for the contracts to get enough votes to pass.
The panel did approve a $20 million, three-year contract for six nonprofit groups that have been working since last summer in 14 schools that were supposed to get money from the federal government through the School Improvement Grant program. That money did not materialize after the city and teachers union were unable to agree on new teacher evaluations.
Now the city plans to ask the state to restore the funds when it submits applications for "turnaround" at the schools — but the restoration wouldn't happen until next year. The panel members okayed a $6.5 million payment for the partnerships for this year. The contracts will be canceled next year if the state does not restore the federal funds at the schools, according to a Department of Education spokesman.
The turnaround plans are not on the agenda until next month's panel meeting, but they came up again and again on Wednesday evening. Several of the proposed co-locations were set for schools that could be closed and reopened under the turnaround program, drawing criticism from parents and students who attended the meeting.