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DOE hearings on $63 million pot of gold

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Parents: you can tell the city Department of Education (DOE) how to spend $63 million.

The DOE is hosting a series of public hearings to offer details about how it will spend the funding and hear the community’s suggestions for how the money should be allocated.

The funding, dubbed Contracts for Excellence, is being allocated by the state as part of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit. The money is meant to rectify more than three decades of underfunding in New York City public schools. The funding comes with stipulations that it be spent in the neediest schools and to lower class sizes.

The Contracts for Excellence could have been spent very differently.

Just a few weeks ago, public schools were expected to lose $99 million. To lessen the blow of the funding cut, schools Chancellor Joel Klein filed a legal challenge to eliminate the stipulations on how the Contracts for Excellence money could be allocated so the money could be spread out to all public schools.

But on June 30, the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg finalized a fiscal year 2009 city budget that nixed the $99 million funding cut. With the funding restored, Klein dropped his challenge and the money will be spent as mandated, according to a DOE spokesperson.

The DOE will host a public hearing in each of the city’s five boroughs.

Brooklyn’s public hearing will be held on July 30 at Juan Morel Campos Secondary School, located at 215 Heyward Street in Williamsburg.

Those wishing to speak during the public comment period can register at 6 p.m. The hearing will start at 6:30 p.m.

Comments about how the Contracts for Excellence money should be allocated can also be e-mailed to ContractsF­orExcellen­ce@

During the week of July 21, the DOE will post details about its allocation plan at

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