Letter to DOE about their targeting of NYC Kids PAC and our endorsed candidates

So far this email has received no reply.  If we do get a response we will post it here.

Sent: Monday, May 1, 2023 5:29 PM
To: Dekock Paola <PDeKock@schools.nyc.gov>; Elections2023 <Elections2023@schools.nyc.gov>; Melendez Cristina <cmelendez15@schools.nyc.gov>

Dear Paola and the entire election team at FACE:

As the political outreach chair and the head of NYC Kids PAC nominating committee, I would like to make clear that our committee did not include any current CCEC members or candidates, and those serving as current CCEC members recused themselves from the decision-making process. Nor did any candidates reach out to Kids PAC to solicit their endorsements.  

The DOE guidelines simply say that candidates should not accept endorsements from political parties or party officials, nor from elected officials, and we are neither.  We are a volunteer group of parents who set up our PAC more than a decade ago, and have made endorsements at the local, state and federal level since then for candidates who we believe will work to strengthen and support our public schools.

Nevertheless, we will send a message to all our members, subscribers, and any of the candidates for whom we have their email addresses to let them know that candidates themselves should not publicize their Kids PAC endorsements.  We will encourage our other members and subscribers who are not either current CCEC members or running for office to contact parents to urge them to vote for our endorsed candidates.

We believe that the state law that prohibits organizations and current CCEC members from endorsing candidates is probably a constitutional violation of their free speech; and that the Chancellor’s regulations that prohibit CCEC candidates from soliciting or accepting endorsements, which DOE is interpreting to mean publicizing their endorsements, is also likely a violation of their free speech.  However, we do not intend to litigate on this issue until after CCEC elections are over. 

We are also concerned as to why no such message discouraging endorsements or prohibiting candidates from publicizing  their endorsements has gone to any other organization that has done so, including PLACE, nor to the candidates that they endorsed.  

This is a serious matter because it suggests that either purposely or inadvertently, the DOE is biasing the election process in favor of one group’s endorsed candidates over another.  If so, the DOE may be in violation of its own legal responsibility, which is to maintain impartial oversight of the process and ensure no candidates are provided with an unfair advantage. 

Please let us know if it is true that NYC Kids PAC is the only endorsing organization targeted in this way, and if so, what the possible rationale might be.

Yours sincerely, 

Naila Caicedo-Rosario

NYC Kids PAC Political Director & Nominating Committee Chair

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