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School Closings & Co-locations Legislation

THE 2012 “OUR SCHOOLS” ACT:

AN INCLUSIVE AND JUST PROCESS FOR CONSIDERATION OF ALL SCHOOL CLOSINGS OR CO-LOCATIONS

A.   NOTICE OF ACTION AND INPUT FROM PARENTS AND THE COMMUNITY

1.  For the purpose of this Act, “parent” is defined as an individual who is on record with the Department of Education as being legally responsible for a child attending a school hosted in a school building that is the subject of a proposed school closing or co-location.

2.  A proposed school closing or the co-location of a school within a school building that already hosts at least one school must be made public by the Department of Education of the City of New York no later than October 15 of the year prior to the effective date of the proposal.

3.  A proposed school closing or the co-location of a school within a school building that already hosts at least one school must be subject to review and approval by appropriate public or administrative entities. Such review and approval must be completed no later than January 15 of the effective year of the proposal.

4.  The entities involved with the review and approval processesshall be the relevant Community Education Council (“CEC”), the relevant District Leadership Team (“DLT”), and the relevant School Leadership Team (“SLT”). In the event that a host school building contains multiple schools, the School Leadership Teams of all schools shall select and designate a temporary “Building Leadership Team” (“BLT”) consisting of each school’s principal, one teacher from each school, and one parent from each school, selected by each SLT for purposes of this process. No individual serving on a BLT may represent multiple schools.

5.  These entities must each provide, through a publicized public hearing, an opportunity for the proposal to be presented and for formal responses to the proposal to be presented, as wellas questions and comments from members of the public. The CEC and DLT may hold a joint public hearing. The SLT/BLT must, however, hold a separate public hearing at the relevant school building.

B.   DECIDING A SCHOOL CLOSING OR CO-LOCATION

1.  The proposed school closing or co-location must be an action item (a) to be considered and voted on at a publicized public meeting of the CEC and DLT to take place no later than 10 business days after the public hearing, and (b) to serve as the only item to be considered by all eligible parents and teachers in a referendum administered by the relevant SLT or BLT no later than 15 business days after the SLT/BLT public hearing. In each case, the action item shall be to either “approve” or “deny” the proposed school closing or co-location.

2.  For a proposed school closing or co-location to be approvedby an entity, “Approved” must win a simple majority of votes– defined as 50% plus 1 of the membership of each entity and not just of those present and voting (e.g. – If a CEC has 11 members, “Approved” must receive at least six votes.) No individual may vote as a member of more than one entity. Specifically, if an individual is a member of the CEC and is also a parent affiliated with an impacted school, that individual may only participate in the CEC vote, and the number of eligible parents reduced by one.

3.  For a proposed school closing or co-location to be formally approved, at least two of the three entities must vote “Approved” within the specified time frame.

C.   EXEMPTION

1.  Notwithstanding the language set forth above, any school building that is determined by the New York City Department of Health, the New York City Department of Buildings, or the New York City Fire Department to contain hazards to the health of individuals utilizing the building may be closed temporarily or permanently without undergoing the specified process.

2.  In the event of such a closing, the redistribution of students shall follow those procedures as determined by the Department of Education.