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Presidential pox on Dist. 18%A0

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School District 18’s Community Education Council (CEC) is still without a leader.

“This looks like it’s going to be a knock-down-drag-out battle,” said James Dandridge, who is seeking reelection as president.

As a result of a poor turnout of CEC members, the council held an unsuccessful presidential election for the second month in a row.

The council, which advocates for schools in Canarsie and East Flatbush, maintains a full register of 11 members but just six were present for the election at last week’s meeting, held at the District 18 office on East 95th Street.

Two CEC members nominated themselves for president, thereby splitting the vote. Dandridge and challenger Carlton Richardson each received three votes.

At the initial election in August, the result was four votes for Dandridge, one for Richardson and one abstention. Six votes are needed to win an election.

Hoping that the third time is the charm, another election will be held at the CEC’s October 5th meeting.

Until then, campaigning will likely continue.

“I think we need change,” Richardson said. “I think we need someone more aggressive in dealing with the [city Education Department].”

“A stronger voice is not what you need,” Dandridge countered. “What you need is stronger parent involvement so that the parents’ voices can be heard in terms of what they want for their children. We’re not fighting the Department of Education. What we’re doing is monitoring the Department of Education to make sure they are doing right for our children.”

Dandridge, who has served as the CEC’s president since its inception in 2004, believes his experience is invaluable, especially since the council has a high turnover rate.

“Our council members serve on average only one year. The only stability that the council has really had has been in the leadership of the presidency,” Dandridge said.

The CEC has also struggled to elect a secretary.

District 18 Family Advocate Joanne Rubano encouraged members to volunteer, saying, “You are not going to be typing the minutes.”

In spite of her pleas, there were no nominations for the position.

The next meeting of District 18’s CEC is scheduled for October 5th at 7 p.m. at the District 18 office, 1106 East 95th Street. For more details, contact the council at 718-566-6037 or e-mail

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