All education council members must participate in at least two DOE-sponsored training sessions per term to familiarize themselves with their roles and responsibilities. To support council members in fulfilling their role, Education Councils have a paid administrative assistant who handles day-to-day administration. Councils also receive technical support from the Division of Family and Community Engagement. Although this is an unpaid volunteer position, members can receive limited reimbursement for expenses.
The powers and duties of Community Education Councils are specified in NY State Education Law §2590-e:
- Review the district’s educational programs and assess their effect on student achievement.
- Hold at least one meeting per month with the superintendent (72-hour notice required), open to the public, where the public may discuss the current state of the schools in the district.
- Submit an annual evaluation of the superintendent to the Chancellor.
- Provide input to the Chancellor and the Panel for Educational Policy on district concerns.
- Serve as liaisons to School Leadership Teams
- Approve zoning lines as submitted by the superintendent.
- Hold public hearings on the district’s capital needs and submit a plan to the Chancellor.
- Hold a Town Hall with the Chancellor.
Education Council members must also fill out monthly Individual Performance Reports and file yearly financial disclosures.
Each CEC is a council of equals: each member has one vote and all share in the rights and responsibilities of membership, including the members in seats reserved for parents of IEP, ELL and D75 students. However, because the addition of a new seat for a category of parents not previously included presents some challenges, guidance on the role of the D75 member can be found here.
The powers and duties of the Citywide Councils are specified in NY State Education Law §2590-b:
- Hold at least one meeting per month (72-hour notice required), open to the public, during which the public may discuss issues affecting the councils’ respective constituencies: high schools, students receiving special education services, and English Language Learners.
- Comment on educational and instructional policy.
- Issue an annual report on the services provided by the DOE to their respective constituencies and make recommendations for improvements.
Education Council meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Law:
- Education Council meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Law, which mandates that all meetings of governmental bodies (including committee and subcommittee meetings) be open to the public and that the public receive adequate notice of those meetings.
- Minutes of council meetings must be made available to the public within 14 days of the meeting even if they are still in draft form.
- Council documents are subject to the Freedom of Information Law.