An open letter to city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott:
On July 17, the Community Board 11 staff read, in the City Record, that the City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses was, much to our surprise, holding the hearing July 22 for the location of the 416-seat elementary school in Bayside.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) later that day also advised this office and organized a press conference for July 19. At that press conference, Avella announced that the hearing was postponed and that the city Department of Education and city School Construction Authority would meet with the elected officials but not anyone from the community board.
As chairman of the board, I am amazed and offended by the actions of the DOE and SCA, your disregard for community notification and fair and open discourse. The community board was not given any advance notice of the subcommittee hearing, which is common procedure all applicants provide when they were previously before the board.
We were also led to believe, by SCA staff, that the Council would not receive this application until sometime in August. We cannot excuse this misrepresentation made by SCA and we can only believe it was meant to intentionally exclude the community board and circumvent the community.
We are told the community board will not be permitted to participate in any further discussions about the siting of the school on 48th Avenue. We adamantly protest this exclusion and hereby demand that this anti-community, undemocratic and ill-advised decision be rescinded immediately.
I would appreciate an explanation of your reasons for not notifying the community board and not including us in further discussions.