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Stronger school board ethics and vocational education standards

The Buffalo Board of Education offered sentimental goodbyes to board members Lou Petrucci, Ralph Hernandez and Rosalyn Taylor on Wednesday, but they also took action on a number of significant policies. While the adoption of the superintendent's evaluation took center stage at Wednesday's marathon meeting, the board also:

  • Adopted a new Code of Ethics policy, which beefs up the ethics standards for board members and school district employees regarding conflict of interest, voting recusal, and matters that cannot be disclosed if discussed in executive session. Here's a copy of the policy.
  • Approved a new policy for career and technical education (aka vocational education) that is designed to greatly increase student acceptance and participation in job readiness courses. Instead of relying on criteria like GPAs and attendance to determine a student's participation eligibility, the new policy now makes student interest the primary factor in student acceptance to a vocational program. It also requires that all available program seats be filled to capacity in ninth and 10th grades.
  • Approved a resolution by board member John Licata to seek State Legislature support for a local law that would require children to attend school beginning at age 4, when many children begin pre-kindergarten. Currently, children are not required to attend school until age 6, first grade.
  • Approved the creation of a new task force to review and improve the student assignment and placement process. Outgoing board member Petrucci revisited concerns about some South Buffalo residents being unable to enroll their children at their neighborhood Discovery School because of the district's school admissions policy. Other board members said his concerns about Discovery School are not unique to that school community, but are felt by many parents across the district. Hence, a task force.

Finally, Superintendent Brown was expected to announce the reorganization of her central office administration Wednesday, but that announcement was delayed. Since the board meeting ended close to 11 p.m., that's understandable but we are still waiting to hear from her. 

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