By Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — The Department of Education has delayed its parent council elections following a chorus of complaints that slammed the process as a "debacle." But critics say that's not enough.
"After reviewing concerns raised by parents and public officials about this year's Citywide and Community Education Council elections, I have concluded that the process could and should have been handled better," Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement. The elections will be delayed by a week.
The decision is a victory for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and council parents who had been rallying to postpone the proceedings in recent weeks.
But following the announcement, critics said a one-week delay isn't enough to right the election, which they have described as a "chaotic and confusing" mess, with names omitted from voter guides, inexcusable delays and eligible moms and dads told they were not entitled to run.
"While I'm gratified that DOE has now admitted there were serious problems with its plans to hold CEC and Citywide Council elections, I simply don't believe one week is enough time to fix this deeply flawed process," Stringer said in a statement following a rally with parents and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at the Tweed Courthouse.
He called on the DOE to launch an investigation into what went wrong and asked Walcott to convene a task force to consider whether oversight of the elections and the parent councils should be transferred to "an independent entity."
"As elected parent leaders we demand that the irregularities be worked out," said Upper West Side dad and CEC 3 president Noah Gotbaum, who said the elections should be delayed until the end of the school year and wants oversight of all parent groups, including parents' associations, transferred from the DOE.
During the week delay, Walcott said the department will work to distribute candidate information "so that the process is as inclusive as possible." Terms are still expected to begin July 1.
This is the second time the department has delayed the election this year. It had previously extended the application deadline for parents interested in running after a lackluster turnout.