The replacement in 2004 of democratically elected Community School Boards (Boards) with appointed Community and Citywide Education Councils (CECs) has significantly reduced Asian American representation within New York City’s public school governing system. In 1999, 15 Asian Americans sat on old Boards, but the shift to CECs produced a 30% decline in Asian representation. Only 10 Asians were represented in the first CEC class appointed last year in 2004. Those losses were sustained this year as 9 Asian Americans were elected to CECs, and were further exacerbated by a high turnover rate. Only 3 of the 9 Asian CEC members elected this year are incumbents, meaning that 7 out of the 10 Asian CECs members elected last year chose not to run again or were defeated. Also, this represents a 10% drop in Asian representation from 2004 to 2005 and a 40% drop in representation since 1999.
Overall, the change from 2004 to 2005 mimicked trends from the previous year. Large losses in Asian American seats between the last Board election in 1999 and first CEC appointment cycle in 2004—especially in Asian American enclaves—were not recouped this year. Some of these neighborhoods experienced even further decline. For example, District 26, which has significant Asian American populations in Bayside, Floral Park, Bellaire, and Fresh Meadows, boasted 3 Asian American members in 1999, but declined to 2 in 2004, and only 1 in 2005. In 1999, District 26 and nearby District 25 (which includes large Asian enclaves in areas like Flushing, Key Garden Hills and Briarwood) such together had 7 Asian American Board members, in sharp contrast to only 1 this year. District 25’s 4 Asian representatives in its 1999 Board dropped to and remains zero after the CEC shift.
Furthermore, moderate gains last year in some areas of recent Asian population growth were lost in 2005. For example, District 28, which encompasses Forest Hills, Key Gardens, and Richmond Hill, gained 2 Asian American CEC members in 2004, but neither was reelected in 2005. Similarly, in District 12, 1 new Asian American was elected in 2004, but none in 2005.
Notably, several other districts have ceased to have Asian American members since the reorganization of Boards into CECs, and many of these districts contain neighborhoods that have large Asian American populations. These districts include District 20 (including Bensonhurst, Southern Sunset Park, and Borough Park), District 24 (including Sunnyside, Woodside, Elmhurst, South Corona, Rego Park, Jackson Heights, and Forest Hills), and District 29 (including Jamaica Estates and Jamaica Hills).