HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The start of the new year brings questions and concerns among parents in one of the most troubled school districts in New York.
A bill that could help transform Hempstead’s public schools still awaits Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature, reports CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.READ MORE: Police: Woman Threatened With Metal Rod During Brooklyn Robbery
There was elation last June when the New York legislature passed unprecedented measures calling for intervention to help the struggling Hempstead School District.
More than six months after the vote in Albany to bring the first of its kind monitoring to the district, the bill appears to be languishing.
“The solution is making sure we have a monitor who can help guide any plans for our educational system,” said State Assemblywoman Taylor Darling.
The bill’s sponsors are among those urging the governor to take decisive action following a rally closely watched from within district headquarters where the current administration call the legislation “ineffective, punitive and political.”
“We don’t really need more monitoring, what we need is more funds to help us achieve those state-mandated goals,” said Hempstead School Board Trustee Randy Stith.
In one of the wealthiest counties in America, the poorest school districts in Nassau have been suffering for decades, with the crisis hitting fever pitch two years ago with a graduation rate of 37%.
“Give our kids a chance governor, that’s what I say,” said former Hempstead Village mayor Wayne Hall. “Please do something different, and help us here in Hempstead.”READ MORE: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Visit Elementary School In Harlem During Trip To New York City
The governor may be reluctant due to budget constraints, paying three part-time monitors for five years.
“Effectively stabilize this district financially and academically, in order to bring accountability,” said former Hempstead School Board trustee Melissa Figueroa. “I can’t imagine any board that would not want to receive support from the State of New York.”
The monitors would have unprecedented veto powers.
“Veto power takes away the public’s right to who they elect to sit on the school board,” said Hempstead School District Superintendent Regina Armstrong.
Hempstead says recent improvements in graduation and attendance have been demonstrative of its recent successes.
New York State education officials went to the Hempstead School District back in October. The officials from Albany met face-to-face with local school officials, agreeing to disagree but continue to work together.
Gov. Cuomo received the bill Dec. 30, with 30 days to act. He can sign it as-is, sign with negotiated amendments, or in this case if he does nothing, the bill is vetoed.MORE NEWS: NYC Moving Ahead With Plans To Build Affordable Housing On Site Of Little Italy Community Garden
The governor’s office says a thorough and thoughtful review of the bill is underway. It would also affect the Wyandanch School District in Suffolk County.