DOE chancellor to hold Elmhurst town hall amid tensions with local activists

Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza will attend the next Community Education Council 24 (CEC 24) town hall in Elmhurst.

Carranza was slated to meet with CEC 24 in December, before cancelling his appearance to attend the memorial service for a recently deceased DOE official. The long postponed meeting, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on March 2 at I.S. 5 (50-40 Jacobus St.), will dispatch the chancellor into the district of Councilman Robert Holden, one of his most persistent critics, whose education director Charlie Vavruska was involved in Carranza’s recent kerfuffle at the CEC 26 meeting, which he walked out of.

According to NY1, Vavruska is one of a group of protestors who have been showing up at event after event where chancellor is slated to appear for months. Another member of this group is the newly elected CEC 24 President himself Phil Wong. Their grievances include Carranza’s SHSAT proposal and his attempts to implement school diversity plans across the city.

At a Jan. 28 press conference Carranza called the band of protestors at the Bayside town hall — including these two figures from School District 24 – “outside agitators,” explaining that their presence was what led him to leave the meeting.

Since then, the chancellor has apologized to the parents at Marie Curie Middle School, and promised to meet with parents at Bayside’s Marie Curie Middle School, where several reports of sexual harassment and assault have recently come to light.

Apart from recent tensions in Bayside, School District 24 has had problems of its own. It has the fourth-highest level of overcrowding in the city, according to a report the 2018 City Council. In September, whistleblowers at Maspeth High School alleged that the school was involved in a grade rigging scheme. Councilman Holden has since asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the DOE over matter.

The Chancellor Town Hall is scheduled to last for one hour, after which CEC 24 will hold its regular meeting.