Working Group To Propose Hybrid School Board

Thomas MacMillan PhotoAs a special commission closes in on its deadline for proposing changes to the city’s foundational laws, a subcommittee has voted to recommend the city switch to a partially elected Board of Ed with seats set aside for students.

Melissa Mason (pictured), “facilitator” for the Charter Revision Commission’s Working Group A, shared that information Wednesday night.

She stressed that the proposal is preliminary. She said fuller details will emerge at a meeting Thursday night in City Hall.

Mason heads one of three sub-groups of the Charter Revision Commission, the special body formed to scrutinize New Haven’s city charter and recommend revisions. Click here for more on the commission.

The charter lays out the basic legal facts about New Haven: its departments, the powers and duties of the mayor and the Board of Aldermen, the number of wards, etc. The city is required by law to revisit the charter every 10 years.

The Charter Revision Commission’s three five-member working groups have been considering recommended changes. Among these, the idea of altering the structure of the school board has gained the most interest. Mason’s working group has been pondering the relative merits of an elected Board of Ed, versus an appointed one, as the city now has.

Mason said Group A has decided to recommend that the city switch to “hybrid” partially elected Board of Ed, with seats for student representatives. She declined to elaborate on the recommendation, since it is not fully worked out. She said Group A will discuss the details when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Hall.

Later this month, the three working groups will reconvene as a full 15-member commission, at which time the commission will hear and vote on the recommendations that emerge from the groups.

Recommendations that find favor with the commission will be put to the Board of Aldermen. Aldermen will decide which suggested charter changes, if any, should be placed on the ballot in November for a referendum by all registered voters.

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posted by: anonymous on April 4, 2013  2:29pm

Thank you to the volunteers for dedicating so much hard work to this project, and for taking a tough stance. 

Someone has to stand up to the pay-to-play, appointment-based politics of DeStefano and Henry Fernandez.

A more democratic Board of Education would be a step in the right direction, but the idea is sure to ruffle the feathers of the Big Money who are behind Fernandez’s decision not to participate in public financing.

posted by: Noteworthy on April 4, 2013  6:26pm

This is a very positive development and will bode well especially with a change candidate in the mayor’s seat.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 5, 2013  8:06am

I to thank the folks that worked on this. And I am glad that we are one step closer to a reality. Checks and balances! Also agree with anon…I was shocked the fernandez (2.0 destefano) spouted he was different…yet wanted the same.

posted by: Curious on April 5, 2013  9:14am

Can’t you do better than Destefano 2.0?

How about Destefernandez?

posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 5, 2013  10:56am

Curious :)

but 2.0 destefano rhymes!
is to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

posted by: Eddie on April 5, 2013  12:09pm

This has been a great process throughout the hearings and it is resulting in positive change for New Haven!  This city charter commission has been extremely productive.  Thanks to all those on the commission and everyone else who participated in the hearings and process.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 6, 2013  12:32pm

If this Charter Revision Commission’s Working Group does not put in Proportional Representation then they are a waste.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 7, 2013  6:54pm

Can they do that on a city level or does that have to be done in Hartford? If we can do it here I agree it should be put up for a vote