The city is asking elected parent leaders to help it hold mandatory public hearings about school funding that should have happened in June.

The state requires all school districts to hold annual hearings about they plan to allocate Contracts for Excellence dollars, state education funds that can be spent only in certain ways. Other districts held their hearings in June, according to the schedule set out in the law. But New York City did not. (Remember, those were heady days for the city, with mayoral control’s expiration date rapidly approaching.) After Anna reported last week that the hearings hadn’t happened, state officials said they were merely being rescheduled.

Now we have a hint of when the hearings might be held. Martine Guerrier, head of the education department’s Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy, sent an e-mail to district parent councils today asking them to help run local hearings in September.

“We are committed to meeting our statutory requirements for Contracts for Excellence and ask for your support in partnering with the Department to hold public hearings on the 2009-2010 plan at the beginning of the school year,” Guerrier wrote. She said her office would help the councils hold the hearings either during one of their regularly scheduled meetings or at a separate time.

Guerrier’s full letter to district parent councils is after the jump.

Dear Council, 

We are committed to meeting our statutory requirements for Contracts for Excellence and ask for your support in partnering with the Department to hold public hearings on the 2009-2010 plan at the beginning of the school year.  We would like to maximize participation by parents and community members. For the first time, we invite the Council to co-host the hearings and consider including Contract for Excellence on the agenda of your September calendar meeting. We believe, and hope you agree, that CEC meetings or a joint forum can be well suited to the spirit of the Contracts for Excellence public hearing requirement, since each brings discussion about a district’s contract to the people who know the schools and students the best.

The OFEA Deputy Borough Director assigned to support your council will contact you directly to find out your preference for co-hosting the Contracts for Excellence hearing either as an item on the agenda for the September calendar meeting or convening a separate hearing in September.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention. 

I hope to see you all during the “Family Back to School Kickoff” event this Saturday, August 22nd.

Martine Guerrier
Chief Family Engagement Officer
New York City Department of Education