Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Amendments to Vocational school regs

Chester: have spent a lot of time
recommendation to adopt these today
multi-year process discussion with traditional superintendents and vocational superintendents

"These won't please everybody, but we think we've done a very reasoned, very reasonable approach"
issues that have come to our attention numerous times
Chapter 74 approval: two stage process
Chapter 74 program admissions: documentation of the reason students did not meet requirements; guidance counselors involved; admission of all qualified district students first
125% cap on the rate; additional increment for capital as warrented
disallows out of district vo-tech program if offered by home district
students can still apply for out-of-district placement where programs are not locally available
transportation factors: necessity payment, closeness of programs available, limit on spending
encouraging out pathways for vocation programs
Wulfson: chapter 74 program is probably the oldest of school choice programs: due for another legislative look
most expensive of the choice programs
student must be interested in a particular program in the school
should not expect an eighth grader to make that decision
having students need to switch high schools midway through their careers "is not particularly successfully"
perhaps to make more use of the inter-district school choice program
$5000 cap a money loser for vocational district
a lift in that to higher but still managable level might eliminate much of the paperwork currently required
deleted how section on provisional approval of chapter 74 programs
whole issue of a capital surcharge: it is very, very rare that the MSBA would build a school building that would be built to accommodate a significant non-resident students
may be cases in which the district and the state agrees there is a compelling reason for that
(he also just said that the Smith School is in Central Mass. It's in Northampton.)
"need to leave ourselves the option to pay for that space" used by non-resident students in compelling cases

Roach: 9th graders stay home if there is an exploratory program at home
Wulfson: there's arguments on both sides
given the expense of these programs, "it sort of became an oxymoron to go explore a program when they've already decided on a program"
when students are allowed to go out of district to explore, many of them would change their mind
pressure put on schools to change their policies and minds, but if they agreed to exception, "that's a substantial amount of money going out the door"
Roach: is there a sense that we should look at the standards for that? for the exploratory program
Wulfson: only for schools that have five or more approved programs
talked about if a student could go and explore just for the program of interest; scheduling nightmare
Roach: "I think you landed in a reasonable but imperfect spot here"
has local approval for chapter 74 programs that replicated those at voke been gone through?
Wulfson: needs to be a clear need for the program and extra capacity
has to happen at beginning of process, option for local voke to weigh in
Roach: do you folks have what you need to get these approvals done in a way that's responsive to the needs?
Wulfson: resources, thanks to Perkins funding, we have a reasonable source
vacancy in our state regional director, have been looking for some time

Willyard: I hold the student interest, rather than the organizational issue
home district not being informed isn't the student's fault
are we going to make the student go through exploratory of programs that aren't of interest?
student should be allowed to explore programs that are of interest, even if they aren't local
Wulfson: once that was offered, it was very easy for a student to say that they want to go out of districts, because they just needed to name the program
just setting ourselves up for a district to force a student to go back or for a district to pay for a student to be in a program that they could have done locally

Calderón-Rosado: implementation
perhaps waiting a year to have these things sorted out and ironed out
Wulfson: has been consistent in communication to the field that the intention is to have these carried out this year
Calderón-Rosado: in terms of that admission process, how does that work?
applying to a non-resident tuition deadline is April 1 (and that's the bit that's changing)
have they been accepted?

McKenna: changing regulation and having them implemented immmediately
"maybe people should have known, but they didn't know, and it changed many, many times in the process"
"and then you have people caught in the process"
"and that's been a real criticism of DESE"
"if it's the right thing to do, why not wait a year?"
Chester: not as if these are changes folks did not know for the last month or so
there are varyng opinions about what should be done, particularly around admissions and non-resident students
to provide the most reasonable and reasoned system
failing to implement
McKenna: "not about effecting the administrator; I'm concerned about parents and students...I suspect that parents and students were not very aware of these changes."
Daniels:"I agree with you...very much between a rock and a hard place...knowing kids and knowing parents...I'm troubled by the timeline"

Stewart: interaction with guidance counselors now
really feel that the school guidance counselors need to get a real view on who their students really are
maybe there's a waiver process we could consider for one year?

Noyce: how many out-of-district students have been accepted at this point?
if deadline is April, and resident students are admitted first, I would think we can say none
response is 'few'
Could we approve the whole thing but say the start date of the admission is next year?
Peyser: regs become effective when they're approved Wuflson: when they're published by Sec'ty of State
but if student was approved under current reg, would that admission hold?
McKenna: in my experience that has not been the case, if that is not true in this case, and we can make that clear, that's one thing.
Legal rec: Board could include an effective date for certain sections. "We have done that before." Don't have data we can give you on the number of students in the pipeline
Wulfson: have it apply to students who have not been accepted as of certain date
Roach: is effect to have students not go to exploratory program of students going out of district?
Yes, that's the impact
Roach: is it likely that they've been accepted
we're into the crowd here for consultation
superintendents of sending districts have to approve those students
voke superintendent says that they have accepted students at this point, but they have not yet been approved by their home superintendent
approval is virtually automatically
McKenna: parent expectation is that all that is being awaited is approval of home district superintendent, expectation is that student will attend
argument that the Board has never voted regulation for exploratory student to go
McKenna; have been a number of memos and policies
have two issues here: one is implementation, and parents and students having a realistic expectation of where their student is going to be next year
and second, exploratory program extremely complicated
Noyce: how many spaces are there at 10th grade?
Wulfson: varies school to school, program to program, "I won't represent there are spaces."
Noyce: are tenth grade sizes larger? No.
"Fundamentally, I don't think there's anything wrong with students going through an academic program in ninth grade and entering in tenth grade, but if there is no space..."
Wulfson: at the end of the day, there are only so many slots at so many programs
Willyard: parallel to charter schools: unless someone has left, there isn't a space
McKenna: we do not have a motion on the floor
motion is to accept reg changes
Roach: vocational ed in high demand: there are kids applying to their own vo-tech schools who can't get in; we're not going to be able to fix it
we're going to be able to clarify these issues
"My sense is move on with the process...get on with the show"
Peyser: not perfect, long process
problems are with overarching school finance issues
"if there is some way of grandfathering students who have been admitted" would support
don't support delaying implementation
Willyard: amending to allow the student exploratory program
Peyser: amendment reopens whole negotiated arrangement
amendment voted down
main motion of regs as stated
Question on granfathering students
Peyser: do not apply to any student who has already been admitted under the prior regulations
McKenna takes it as a motion
"shall not apply to any student who has been admitted as a non-resident...under the rules in effect" prior to the adoption and publication of the new regs
Amendment passes
Motion as amended passes

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