The "educational accountability" pact suggested by the mayor and agreed to by the SRC in a resolution yesterday is definitely a positive step towards transparency and accountability for the schools. But it's fair to ask whether it will be strong enough -- especially in terms of enforceability. As long as the city is unable to withhold money from the schools (state law says it can never reduce its contribution to the district; this is known as the "maintenance of effort" requirement) or replace SRC members, its ability to exert control is going to be limited.
Now, earlier this week, state Rep. Michael McGeehan introduced an amendment that would allow the city to skirt the "maintenance of effort" requirement by making a one-time payment to the schools without maintaining that level of contribution going forward. Our question, if that doesn't fly: Could the state amend the law so that the city can withhold funding if the schools fail to live up to disclosure requirements (like an accountability pact)? It could even require the city to get state for approval to do so.
Lawyers and wonks, please explain to us why this wouldn't work, or wouldn't help.