Bay Ridge

Fariña to speak at town hall in Bay Ridge school

December 1, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Chancellor Carmen Fariña is likely to face questions about school overcrowding when she meets parents at a town hall in Bay Ridge on Dec. 10. AP Photo/Mike Groll
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City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña is coming to Bay Ridge for a town hall on Dec. 10, where she will likely face questions from parents about overcrowded classrooms and other issues.

Fariña, the top official in charge of the city’s massive public school system, will be speaking at a town hall hosted by the Community Education Council (CEC) of School District 20 on Dec. 10, at William McKinley Intermediate School, 7301 Fort Hamilton Parkway, starting at 6 p.m.

Fariña has appeared at numerous town halls at school districts around the city, giving parents a chance to ask questions of her directly with no bureaucrats standing in their way.

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CEC 20 President Laurie Windsor said she expects parents will pepper Fariña with questions on school overcrowding and whether illegal home conversions are making the problem worse. Illegal conversions take place when property owners illegally subdivide one or two-family homes into multi-unit dwellings and rent the units to families.

“I think illegal home conversions will come up,” Windsor told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday.

District 20 covers schools in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, Sunset Park and Borough Park.

Other topics parents might bring up: problems with programs for intellectually gifted students, how to improve special education classes and objections to Common Core, a controversial course of study. At a town hall on Staten Island held in April, Fariña defended Common Core but said that changes would be made, the Staten Island Advance reported. “I also believe in the Common Core, but I believe we’ve gone about it the wrong way,” the Advance quoted the chancellor as saying.

Windsor predicted that parents will treat Fariña with a great deal of respect.

“People really like her. She is respected because she came up through the ranks and she knows the education system,” Windsor said.

Fariña has served as a teacher, a principal, a district superintendent and deputy chancellor over the years.

While the New York City Department of Education is promoting the town hall with fliers urging parents to come to the meeting, Windsor said the session isn’t just for parents.

“It’s for everyone. I expect that many of our principals, assistant principals, and teachers will be there. They have questions, too,” she said.

Windsor said she hopes school overcrowding is a topic of conversation at the town hall.  District 20 schools are among the most overcrowded in the city, she said. But Windsor took issue with those who would pinpoint illegal home conversions as the main reason. “To say it’s because of illegal home conversions is a stretch. It’s backing into the answer. There are a lot of reasons we are overcrowded. Nobody is looking at other reasons,” she said.

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