NYC education panel breaks with city to reject $82M contract

A “rubber stamp” no extra. 

The Panel for Education Policy, which is notoriously amenable to City Hall’s college directives, rejected an $82 million contract on Wednesday evening, which watchdogs believe has solely occurred as soon as earlier than in its historical past. 

The uncommon referendum on a short lived staffing settlement included a few of Mayor Eric Adams’ personal appointees and instructed the brand new panel may break with its gentle status. 

Thomas Sheppard, the vice chair of the board, referred to as it “offensive” to restrict dialogue on the contract — “so we can all go through the motions for the sake of expediency, and be the puppet panel or rubber stamp that everyone has reduced us to,” he stated. 

“I’m not saying any of this — and please believe me when I say this — to appear difficult to work with, or because I have some other agenda,” stated Sheppard, who was not an Adams appointee, however elected by Community Education Council presidents to signify mother and father.”In reality, the other is true. I say every thing I don’t out of malice or unwell will, however out of a profound love I’ve for the city I name residence.”

Tom Allon, a information group writer and father to Adams’ deputy press officer, voted towards the contract. Alan Ong, a former Community Education Council president, abstained. Both are mayoral appointees.

All who voted in favor of the settlement had been Adams picks. 

Panel for Education Policy members who voted in favor of the city agreement were all appointed by Mayor Eric Adams.
Panel for Education Policy members who voted in favor of the city settlement had been all appointed by Mayor Eric Adams.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

“That may signal some problems for Adams,” stated Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education professor David Bloomfield. The mayor’s predecessors insisted panel members fall in line — even eradicating those that disagreed.

“It might also mean that he’s going to allow his PEP members to act as a check and balance on the chancellor,” Bloomfield stated. “But I suspect that yesterday it just went wrong.”

The vote got here a day after the Adams administration had to take away an appointee, Staten Island pastor Kathlyn Barrett-Layne, after experiences revealed her historical past of anti-gay views and writings.

“Nobody pays attention to the PEP, including apparently Adams,” stated Bloomfield. “So this was an embarrassment, and likely because they don’t have their act together yet.” 

Critics of the contract raised questions on how the cash may very well be spent and what short-term staffers could be employed, calling for extra solutions additional prematurely of conferences. Allon didn’t converse publicly on his “no” vote and declined to remark for The Post.

DOE chief monetary officer Lindsey Oates responded that the contract would assist assist staffing for short-term initiatives just like the Situation Room that oversees COVID-19 circumstances in faculties, or different college and principal wants.

“If this contract were delayed, we would have a lapse in service, and we’re really trying to prevent a lapse in service to our schools,” Oates stated.

Manhattan Borough President Appointee Kaliris Salas-Ramirez requested for an replace on these short-term applications “so that we can further understand the need for this particular contract,” whereas Sheppard instructed the potential lapse in service places members in a troublesome spot.

“I have a problem with that,” he stated. “Because if these contracts take time to negotiate, then we should have enough time to review those contracts.” 

The solely different time the PEP is believed to have voted towards a proposed contract got here final 12 months towards Bill de Blasio, when the panel voted down a contract to administer the Gifted and Talented admissions examination.

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