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|Meisha Ross-Porter (left) and Cheryl Watson-Harris moved their kids into schools outside of their residential zones.Angel Chevrestt/Robert Mecea|
Susan Edelman, NY POST, July 6, 2019
Two of Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s top executives ditched their residential zones to get their kids into better — and less diverse — schools, The Post has learned.
After moving from Boston to Bay Ridge in August 2015, Cheryl Watson-Harris, the current first deputy chancellor, did not enroll her youngest child in PS 170, Ralph A. Fabrizio, the elementary school for which her home was zoned.
Instead, she wrangled her son into PS 185.
PS 170 largely serves immigrant children. Its 1,000-student body is 24 percent white and 58 percent Asian, with 32 percent of students learning English. In contrast, PS 185’s 650-student body is 68 percent white — the kind of school Carranza would blast as “segregated.” Only 7 percent are English language learners.
The Department of Education initially claimed Watson-Harris’ home was zoned for PS 185, but after The Post learned her address at the time, the department admitted the boy’s zoned school was PS 170.
The DOE granted Watson-Harris a “child-care hardship waiver” to let him attend PS 185, officials said.
DOE spokesmen said Watson-Harris and her husband requested his placement at PS 185, which is closer to Fort Hamilton HS, so that their eldest son could pick up the boy from school.
“That’s a convenience,” another DOE employee said, adding that other parents usually don’t get the same break.
Watson-Harris also got her second child into highly selective IS 187, the Christa McAuliffe School, in Borough Park, which is 91 percent Asian and white, the Post previously reported. The DOE says it granted her a “placement exception request.”
She declined to comment.
In another case, Meisha Ross Porter, one of Carranza’s nine “executive superintendents,” took in a friend’s child from another state in September 2017. At the time, she was Bronx’s District 11 superintendent and living in District 8.
Instead of enrolling the child in her zoned Mott Hall Community School — which is 90 percent Hispanic and black and 8 percent white — Porter requested a seat at MS X101, which offers advanced classes for gifted kids. Its student body is 67 percent Hispanic and black and 15 percent white.
In an e-mail at the time, Samantha Gounden, executive director of the Bronx Family Welcome Center, asked MS X101 Principal Jared Rosoff if the child under Porter’s care could “be accommodated.”
“She was ushered in by higher-ups. They knew who she was,” a DOE insider said.
Porter declined to comment.
DOE spokesman Will Mantell said all kids in District 8 can apply to MS X101. Porter’s child met entry requirements and the school, which usually has a waiting list, had open seats, he said.
“Both Meisha and Cheryl followed the rules,” Mantell said.
From Betsy Combier:
And that's not all - it seems that the Conflicts of Interest Board may be investigating Ms. Ross-Porter:
|Meisha Celebrating at the Gala|
Susan Edelman, NY POST, June 1, 2019
A Bronx school superintendent promoted to a new top position by Chancellor Richard Carranza was feted with a lavish party organized by subordinates at a cost of $111 a head from 400 guests, including employees under her control, The Post has learned.
The Department of Education’s Office of Ethics and Conflicts of Interest received a complaint that the extravagant affair may have violated Chancellor’s Regulations, but DOE officials defended the bash, which cost around $45,000.
|Meisha Ross-Porter and Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson|
That dramatic flourish added $500 to the tab. The evening featured a buffet, DJ and open bar, sources said.
“What an amazing night looks like??? I am so deeply blessed, so highly favored, so honored and humbled to be celebrated by my birth and BRONX family!!” Porter gushed on Facebook (pictured top) a day after the Feb. 7 gala, which also celebrated her birthday.
Early in her career, Porter was principal of the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, a middle school graded “F” in 2007, her fourth year at the helm, but she gained influence.
Ex-Chancellor Carmen Fariña promoted her to District 11 superintendent in 2015. In August 2018, Carranza named her one of nine newly created “executive superintendents.”
Porter, 45, now oversees Districts 7 to 12 — all Bronx public schools — and reports directly to Carranza’s First Deputy Chancellor Cheryl Watson-Harris. Her salary: $203,375.
Porter declined to comment, but when asked about reports she received a cash gift at the party, told The Post, “I never received a gift.”
DOE spokesman Doug Cohen said Porter did get a $500 gift card but “called our ethics officer for advice and returned” it.
He also refused to say whether organizers used the DOE’s tax-exempt status to avoid paying tax on the party.
The May 20 letter to the DOE’s ethics officer said, “It’s unconscionable to witness this costly extravaganza, considering [Porter] is an educational leader in the poorest congressional district in the country.”
The letter, whose writer remained anonymous to avoid reprisal, said some employees felt pressured to go:
“Those who did attend may have the advantage of preferential treatment . . . and those who did not fear retaliation.”
But Sanesha Blackwood-Falconer, a parent on the District 11 Community Education Council, said she and others came to celebrate Porter as a “go-getter” for the Bronx: “I don’t think a gun was held to their heads.”
Among the attendees was City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who came as a guest at no charge.
Cohen said the $111 ticket price and use of DOE e-mail to plan the party was not improper. “Employees are permitted to organize events for their colleagues that may include requests for donations,” he said.