Crew's Detention Period

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New York Cay school’s chief Rudy Crew apparently didn’t enjoy being called in for a parent-chancellor conference last month.

On March 3, Crew met with around 200 members of the Parents Organizing Consortium, an umbrella group of parents groups in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Meeting at a Tribeca elementary school, the parents posted a six-foot-tall report card to record Crews responses to questions about school construction projects textbook shortages and efforts to give parents new powers in their children’s schools.

The meeting–which took place after he postponed two previously-scheduled POC pow wows–was contentious from the beginning. But the most heated exchange took place when Bronx parents complained about the School Construction Authority’s long delays on Bronx school projects. Parents suggested that Crew, who is one of the SCAs three trustees make PS 54 in Bedford Park a “test case” for the continued existence of SCA. They urged Crew to call for the abolition of the independent agency if the 600-student school now under construction isn’t ready to open on schedule in early 1999.

“You can’t just issue ultimatums,” Crew shot back.

The schools boss also refused parents request to push the mayorto reinstate funding for another Bedford Park elementary school construction project, which was defunded by Mayor Giuliani early in his term. “The answer” he intoned, “is no.”

The multi-ethnic District 10, which stretches from Riverdale down to Fordham, is among the most overcrowded in the city. Many parents are angry that the problem is not being solved.

“He was not respectful of peopIes frustration, their fear or their long suffering,” says Lois Harr, an activist with Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

Crew wesn t exactly enchanted by the encounter either. Referring to future meetings, he says, “[Next time, I want] a little more to do with the agenda and how we hold the meeting.”

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