EXCLUSIVE: City dropped $10,000 on chancellor’s booklet and video

by nycparentsunion_c6z1iq

It’s a booklet boondoggle.

City Education Department officials spent $10,000 on outside vendors who produced a 16-page booklet and a seven-minute video based on a series of introductory meetings conducted by new schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Carranza, 51, who started the job on April 2, executed an extensive series of meetings with school staffers and community members during a listening tour he embarked on during his first weeks in the city.

On June 27, he released his listening tour report, “Moving Toward a More Equitable School System,” with 2,000 print copies of the document provided to leaders of local school boards and other influential members of the city’s educational establishment.

Education Department officials timed the release to coincide with the announcement of a series of staffing changes that shook up the leadership of the school system with the creation of a number of new jobs and the exits of key staffers.

The DOE, simultaneously, put out a video of Carranza’s tour takeaways, which included the need to desegregate the public schools and improve services for homeless students.

Parent leaders praised Carranza for doing the research by dozens of meetings with school staffers and families, but questioned the expense of the video and booklet.

“Our new chancellor seems to think that we’re made out of money,” said NYC Parents Union President Mona Davids. “That $10,000 could’ve been spent on something more worthwhile and helpful to parents.”

But DOE spokeswoman Toya Holness defended the expenditure, citing the need to deliver Carranza’s message to the public.

“Chancellor Carranza visited 62 schools, hosted 45 town hall meetings, and heard from thousands of students, teachers, principals, parents and community leaders across all five boroughs during his listening tour,” Holness said.

“The report and video provide a summary of the major recurring themes from the tour that are informing our plans for the future and it’s critical that we share this valuable feedback with all stakeholders,” she added.

The creation of a booklet and movie is part of a gradual shift in the city Education Department’s communications strategy involving a beefed-up presence on social media and online.

Education officials executed a controversial overhaul of the public schools system’s website July 10 that cost the city $2 million in contracts with outside vendors.

The new site was designed in compliance with a settlement the city reached with the federal Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights over charges that the previous page was inaccessible to users with disabilities.

Advocates say the new design is an improvement for people with vision problems.

But critics claim the new site is difficult to navigate and complain that it cannot be reached through old links.

On the day the new site was launched, DOE officials took it down for 30 minutes for maintenance.


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