Working Session at Community School Board 2

A community school board is the policy making arm of the district and decides, in its working sessions, such issues as extension of the school year, the process of hiring a principal, and events of importance in the schools of the district. The working session is open to the public though the public cannot participate. After the working session, individuals can speak before the community school board, giving viewpoints or asking questions ranging from budget to policy to specific requests.

On the evening of March 25th, Anthony Alvarado, Superintendent of Community School Board 2 (CSB 2), at the monthly working session, discussed with board members the feasibility of extending the school year for one month in the summer. Each board member is a liaison to several schools and gives a report on what's happening. Among events reported were: Wagner Intermediate School held a conference on standards, P.S. 183 hosted an all-day principals conference, P.S.1 is celebrating 100 years and was the first public school in New York, and Baruch Campus High School, a new school is opening in the fall. A question about distribution of funds was raised with regard to Staten Island. They received 11% of the funds but have only 4% of the schoolchildren in New York City. Votes on various issues was done by oral roll call.

Parents and former school board members posed questions or read opinion statements. Dr. Barnett, a former member of CSB2, spoke about the recent governance legislation and how it removes the power of the school boards. He stated that the Chancellor now has control of the elementary schools and this law should be repealed.

Superintendent Alvarado spoke about the standards project that District 2 has been funded to carry out by the Central Board with an allocation of $21/2 million dollars. According to Alvarado, we must raise the standards of education for all children. During the summer, students not meeting standards will come in for an extra month of instruction. Reduced class size (15) and a literacy intervention program are some of the components of the program. The University of Pittsburgh has been named to do research on CSB 2's program.