Last Thursday the Board of Education’s Community Engagement Committee finally met to discuss Batalla parent concerns. Unfortunately, this meeting turned out to be mere lip-service.
To refresh your memory: Several months ago, parents at Cesar Batalla School called on the Board of Education to investigate the District Parent’s Advisory Council Executive Board’s removal of Juan Torrealba as president of the Batalla School PAC.
Torrealba was removed after less than three months, following his refusal to move forward with a rally against a police shooting range which would have been built across the street from the school.
Torrealba was the original organizer of the rally; however, he canceled it after Mayor Finch sent out a letter, stating the city would seek an alternative location for the shooting range.
The Working Families Party-aligned District PAC wasn’t happy with this move, since it didn’t score them any political points.
At Thursday’s meeting, both sides got a chance to speak, but no hearing was held on this matter, as Community Engagement Chair Hernan Illingworth explained during the meeting , the board “has no jurisdiction on how the PAC governs itself.”
This is, of course, a ridiculous claim since the District Parent Advisory Council was established by the board under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Who else, other than the entity that established the PAC, would oversee the organization?
This is especially concerning considering the Parent Advisory Council’s federally mandated role is to give advice and support parents. Since when is it ok for a Title I funded entity to become politically driven?
The idea behind this meeting was to bring both parties together and come to a reasonable resolution. Many suggestions were made on how to do that, but none will be taken.
Unfortunately the board is unwilling, and according to them, unable to put these changes into action.
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