QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz responds to questions about the Chancellor’s Regulation C-30 process (“C-30 process”) – the Chancellor’s official principal hiring process – underway at the prestigious Townsend Harris High School (Townsend Harris):
“Townsend Harris is one of the city’s top-ranking, high-performing schools and a source of tremendous pride here in Queens,” Borough President KATZ said. “Yet there is substantial unrest at the moment regarding the C-30 process, which is being undertaken at the school.”
The C-30 Level 1 Interview Committee meeting was originally scheduled for December 8. The meeting was postponed by the New York City Department of Education (DOE) upon receiving complaints from Townsend Harris’ School Leadership Team for the lack of information about the C-30 process, coupled with reports of student demonstrations and petitions with thousands of signatures. On December 15, Townsend Harris’ Parent Teacher Association voted on a resolution calling for the DOE to take several actions, including a restart of the C-30 process and the immediate removal of the Interim Acting Principal.
“Such a significant outcry from the school community simply cannot be ignored,” Borough President KATZ continued. “Faculty, parents, students and alumni of this coveted high school are demanding a fair, open transition of its leadership. Every effort must be made to assure the school community that the C-30 process is being followed and fairly enforced. I urge the DOE to review the concerns raised by the school community, to provide a clear explanation to the school community on the selection of the Interim Acting Principal, and to restart the C-30 process from the beginning.”
In a letter to Chancellor Carmen Fariña today, Borough President Katz outlined the concerns raised by the school community, and urged for more transparency and an explanation by the DOE, as well as a restart to the C-30 process. The C-30 process can be found here: http://schools.nyc.gov/RulesPolicies/ChancellorsRegulations/VolumeC. The text of Borough President Katz’s letter is below in-full:
December 20, 2016
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers St-Rm 320
New York, NY 10007-1222
Dear Chancellor Fariña:
I am writing to follow up on our conversation and my discussions with the administration regarding the current controversy surrounding Townsend Harris High School (“Townsend Harris”). The parents from Townsend Harris have contacted my office with concerns and questions about the C-30 process as it applies to their school. I know that we can all agree that everyone wants what is best for the kids who attend this school and that we want to be sure that every effort is made to guarantee that the C-30 rules in place are being followed and fairly enforced.
I am concerned that we are not being true to these goals. To date I have received a video of a sit-in demonstration by kids from the school, a petition from concerned parents, students and teachers with over 3,000 signatures, an audio recording of a meeting where questionable language was used, a copy of an Article 78 order and judgment and a Resolution voted on by the Parent Teacher Association calling for the removal of the Interim-acting Principal. In more than 20 years in elected office I have not been inundated with so much material around the process of picking a principal.
I appreciate that the C-30 level 1 committee meeting that was scheduled for December 8th was postponed and that an investigation is ongoing as to whether the process was followed. The Department of Education should not ignore the aforementioned concerns from parents, students and teachers. I am requesting that the C-30 process start over with transparency so that a principal who is supportive and fosters a positive nurturing learning environment is chosen for a school that was ranked 8th by U.S. News as one of the best high schools in 2016. I have always, and do fully believe, that the recommendations of the C-30 level 1 committee should be taken very seriously by the Department of Education and given an enormous amount of weight in the appointment of a principal.
There have also been many questions regarding placement of the acting interim principal. I am requesting that the Department of Education send a high ranking official to address the teachers, parents and students and answer any questions regarding the current choice of principal. In addition it will enable the Department of Education to hear firsthand the concerns of the different groups that have opined.
Borough of Queens