Composto Is Named SD 30 Head
Just a few years ago, community superintendents were an endangered species. But after Schools Chancellor Joel Klein officially appointed Dr. Philip A. Composto as superintendent for District 30 along with 31 other community superintendents and nine high school superintendents at a ceremony at the Department of Education last week, it was back to the future.
"Dr. Composto will continue as our superintendent," said Jeannie Tsavaris- Basini, president of Community Education Council District 30 at the CEC 30 May meeting held at P.S. 92 in Corona after attending the DOE installation earlier that same day, May 8.
In 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg virtually eliminated the 32 community school districts, shutting offices, cutting staff and creating 10 regions to replace them. Then, in January, Bloomberg announced a second major restructuring of public schools and eliminated the 10 regional offices.
Composto, with more than 29 years' experience, was initially selected as a Local Instructional Superintendent for Region 4 which encompassed District 30. When the state legislature blocked Bloomberg's efforts to make community districts completely a thing of the past, Composto was tagged to oversee District 30.
Since then, he has served as community superintendent for District 30. A resolution requesting that Composto continue to serve was unanimously passed by CEC 30 in April. Effective July 1, community superintendents will report directly to the Chancellor.
Community superintendents will also work closely with the DOE's new Office of Accountability to monitor school performance. They will have the power to appoint principals and rate them as well. Community superintendents are the primary liaison to Community Education Councils.
Chancellor Klein also announced last week that beginning next September, public schools will receive over $900 million in additional funding that will be distributed according to a new formula.
"We're making history," said Kathleen Grimm, Deputy Chancellor for Finance and Administration, at the CEC 30 May meeting. "We've begun our journey to allocate the resources that we have in our city in an equitable way. We've made a commitment- no school will be a loser."
Sandy Brawer, executive director of operations in Regions 4 and 5, said the new Fair Student Funding allocation formula will empower schools to make their own choices, fund those choices and hold the schools accountable for their choices. "All of these pieces [of the formula] will help schools move forward, I have no doubt in my mind," he said.
In another development affecting public schools last week, a lawsuit seeking to reverse the city's ban on cellphones in schools was dismissed by a state Supreme Court Justice. The lawsuit, filed by a group of eight parents in July, argued that the prohibition of cellphones in schools violates the constitutional rights of students, while agreeing that they should not be used during school.
The DOE maintains that cellphones in schools are disruptive and can be used to cheat.