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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

NYC School Board, the Panel For Educational Policy, Approves $890 Million For New School Bus Entity Tied To Mayor's Donor Alex Lodde


Politics in education is bad for everyone except the politician and his political donor, who gets the benefits, of course.

The Panel For Educational Policy, the NYC school board, routinely and consistently plays politics with education dollars. They do this to please the politicians who appointed them. At every meeting we have attended, members of the PEP violated State and City laws, rules and regulations.

Since 2003 we at Parentadvocates have complained about mayoral control in New York. We have posted the foundation of this control, which in our minds is racist and autocratic. Here is my comment on the policy statement submitted to the Department of Justice by Mayor Mike Bloomberg's Attorney, Michael Cardozo:

In 2003, parents in the New York City school district were asked to look at the new PEP-CEC structure, and call Mr. Joseph Rich, Chief of the Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, in Washington DC with any questions or concerns. We saw immediately that the new structure proposed by Bloomberg and Klein violated our 14th Amendment rights and prohibited us, parents, from having any say through voting on what happened in the district, so I called Mr. Rich. He told me, "I'll get back to you" when I asked him how my right to vote for the school board would be preserved. He never did return my call with an answer.

Here is the submission (broken into random sections) by Michael Cardozo, NYC Corporation Counsel, dated Oct. 31, 2003, that violates the Constitutional rights of citizens of New York City from June 30, 2003-4 until June 30, 2009, then renewed several times since. Once in power, an incumbent never wants to give it up:

Michael Cardozo's introduction to his submission which removes the constitutional rights of NYC citizens
Pages index -11
Pages 12-25
Pages 26-41
Pages 42-58
Pages 59-80

What was shocking was that I was the only parent advocate speaking out against this abominable destruction of rights to democracy in NYC.

Mark Treyger

A few months ago I gave a statement to NYC Council Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger on the violation of Special Education Law and Special Education policies by the NYC Department of Education after seeing it first hand because I do Impartial Hearings and 3020-a arbitration for teachers. Never heard a peep from him, and when I saw him a few months later at the NY State hearing on Mayoral Control, I asked him about it. He told me that he had no idea what I was talking about. That's what I mean when I say parents and people concerned with the NYC DOE should have input into policy decisions. We don't.

At the meeting on Mayoral control, I should tell you that Michael Benedetto, Member of the NY State Assembly and in charge of this hearing, is a charlatan, in my opinion. While the hearing went on, Mr. Benedetto warned each speaker that under no circumstances should anyone criticize either the Mayor or the Chancellor.


I ignored him, as I hope everyone will, moving forward. Mayoral control must end. Now. And I say to Mr. Benedetto, I'm saddened by your warnings of dire consequences if I criticize the Mayor and the Chancellor, but they must be held accountable for their actions. Thank you for understanding this point.

Read below about the PEP giving $890 million to the new NYC School Bus Umbrella Services, which will now take over Reliant Transportation.

Let's hold the PEP, the Mayor, and the Chancellor accountable for their actions. Then I will give the "A For Accountability Award" “™  to that person and/or Group. 

Betsy Combier,
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

City approves controversial $890 million school bus deal

Selim Algar, NYPOST, December 15, 2020

The city’s Panel for Education Policy has waved through a controversial $890 million contract for school bus services to be run by a city-owned nonprofit that bailed out a politically-connected operator earlier this year.

City Hall formed NYC School Bus Umbrella Services, Inc. to take over Reliant Transportation and the 900 routes it oversees for kids with special needs.

The arrangement benefits Reliant co-owner Alex Lodde, who gave $100,000 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2014 effort to push for a Democratic majority in the state Senate.

The five-year contract passed Monday night with eight members of the panel voted in favor and five abstaining — an unusually high number for the PEP.

Critics of the deal have highlighted the city’s potential exposure to Reliant’s pension obligations totaling about $142 million.

The Post reported Sunday that drivers will refuse to work for the nonprofit unless it guarantees payment of those liabilities in full.

“Either the nonprofit is on the hook, or we’ll go after Reliant — and we won’t wait five years,” Michael Cordiello, president of ATU Local 1181, which represents Reliant’s 2,000 bus drivers and attendants, told The Post Sunday.

The Department of Education has argued that the takeover will improve services for 10 percent of all student bus riders.

The city will continue to contract with private companies to serve the remaining 90 percent of kids that rely on school buses. 

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza defended the arrangement Monday, contending that it gave the DOE more control over busing services.

“If I have to negotiate with third party vendors around our transportation it makes it difficult not for us but for our children and our families to be able to be transported,” he said.

Several members of city parent advisory councils questioned the deal’s price tag and questionable provenance at the meeting — especially amid severe coronavirus budget cuts to school programs.

Lucas Liu, of Community Education Council 3, noted that de Blasio and Carranza will no longer hold their current positions when the final bill lands on the city’s table.

In addition, the nonprofit will protect Reliant’s ownership from any liabilities stemming from a withdrawal from the pension plan, sources said.

A Department of Education contracts officer said Monday he doubted the city would end up on the hook for those costs.

But when pressed, Nicolas Storelli-Castro said there were protections in the contract that would allow the city to pay those sums over extended periods if need be.