My resolution to rescind our prior approval of the tutoring services contract for Champion Learning passed unanimously. Following the disclosure that the comptroller's office had rejected the contract due to an ongoing federal investigation even the mayor's appointees agreed to revoke our approval. See here for text of the resolution.
Deputy Chancellor Polakow-Suransky presented an awful $19 million testing technology contract for Pearson. The contract includes both assessment content and the assessment technology platform. The platform includes important things like: "the capability to import and host ("ingest") content from varied and multiple sources". You can read all the details of what we bought here. I pointed out to Chancellor Walcott that the mayor's intransigence in refusing to agree to the evaluation system DOE negotiators had worked out with the UFT had brought us $250 million in punitive budget cuts from Governor Cuomo. I asked the Chancellor why, if by his own estimation, the governor's funding reduction will cost our students "2,500" teaching positions and "essential" class room supplies, we should spend $19 million on unneeded testing technology. His answer focused on how surveys had shown teachers used our current technology. The idea that we could avoid some of those 2.500 teacher cuts by deferring this contract was not of interest to him.
During public comment we heard from Council Member Deborah Rose, members of the Staten Island CEC (District 31) and the public including a number of striking bus drivers and their supporters. Panel Chair Tino Hernandez shut off CEC 31 President Sam Pirozzolo's mike after deciding he had talked too long. I made a motion to extend his speaking time by two minutes citing the fact that we were guests on Staten Island and we ought to allow some additional time to hear the concerns of the elected parent representatives. Queens PEP member Fedkowskyj seconded my motion. Chair Hernandez first said "no" and then apparently realizing he had violated parliamentary procedure, agreed to provide one minute of additional speaking time.
Several CEC members including Michael Reilly and Frank Squicciarini as well as members of the public spoke in favor of their security proposal which would add modern security to school entrances including video and buzzer systems. I was disappointed to learn Chancellor Walcott had dismissed the proposal out of hand and accused the CEC of self promotion. I will ask the Chancellor and staff to revisit the proposal as I did see merit to some of the ideas after speaking with CEC members, many of whom have deep expertise in law enforcement.
Chancellor Walcott responded to concerns about the bus drivers strike by insisting there was no role for the DOE or City despite the fact that the National Labor Relations Board had found that both the bus companies and DOE were primary employers of the drivers and matrons.