Advisory Council Meeting Minutes - October 2007
The meeting started at 10:30 a.m. Chairperson Anthony Stanziani could not attend the meeting. The following people were in attendance: Carole Yates, Rabbi Yerachmiel Barash, Mike Hatten, Vincent Ferrara, Jim Devaney, Matthew Downey (HESC) and Karen Bogucki (State Comptroller’s Office).
The Council decided to turn the meeting over to Carole Yates, BPSS Director, who gave a Bureau update and status report regarding the proposed regulations. Ms. Yates reported that the Bureau has lost some administrative personnel including her own secretary and these positions hopefully will be filled sometime in the future, but not before the November elections.
David Sherwood, BPSS Associate, has been assigned a new territory in the Northwestern part of the state.
Disciplinary actions have become a very demanding task for the Bureau. Many new schools are having problems completing their license applications, thus preventing them from becoming licensed. Some established schools are having their license renewals denied as well. The Bureau is finding many violations including teaching unapproved curricula and having unlicensed teachers.
Ms. Yates reviewed some of the amendments to Education Law, section 5001. For example, there will be new variations regarding third party lenders. Continue checking the SED website for future updates. Mike Hatten asked when final language will be in place regarding the new regulations. Carole Yates said within the next couple of weeks all the changes will be made and will be placed on the Bureau website.
Ms. Yates also informed us that it is the responsibility of BPSS to notify the accrediting bodies and the USDOE of any schools which may not be in compliance with admission practices, unapproved curricula and/or any other area the bureau may find out of compliance. Many schools are not submitting the required financial statements on time. Reviews for financial viability are conducted by SED auditors outside the Bureau. Last year, the Bureau licensed approximately 40 new schools including VESID and NYC WIA Schools now required to be licensed.
A question was asked by Randy Rock to Ms. Yates regarding the CPAT Entrance Exam, for foreign students, being admitted to TAP eligible programs. Foreign students must take entrance exams, even if they submit a high school diploma. Dr. Thomas Reimer from the Bureau will be addressing this issue with Ms. Yates and she will get back to him via email. Rabbi Barash reminded everyone that the accrediting agencies have regulations regarding entrance testing.
Taylor Business Institution, a degree granting institution, has been ordered by the State Education Department to cease operations at the end of the fall 2006 term in January 2007. Mr. Hatten discussed the Taylor Business Institution closing and the inequities that exist between degree granting institutions and schools that the Bureau supervises. Some community colleges have very low graduation rates and many other degree granting institutions do not have the same high level of teacher credentials that our sector requires.
A question was raised regarding the new proposed regulation of schools deemed to not be meeting financial viability requirements. They must now secure and maintain a performance bond payable to the Commissioner in an appropriate amount to eliminate potential liability to the TRA, an influx of capital without corresponding liability or not accept any tuition from students until graduation. If a student withdraws from the course, the refund calculation used shall be either the State’s refund policy or a national accreditation refund policy, whichever is better for the student.
A discussion took place regarding the role of the Advisory Council. It seems that the role of the Council has been diminished. Mike Hatten has been on the Advisory Council for 13 years, and feels that it still has a positive role. Rabbi Barash said that he feels both the Council and the Bureau have been much stressed lately. He asked Ms. Yates what she sees as the role of the Council. She believes at this time there is a lack of interest and a lack of members. New members are needed along with a new Mission Statement for the Advisory Council. Rabbi Barash suggested we look at the list of people who have already expressed an interest to join the Council. None of these additional people can be appointed until the election has been decided and the new Governor is in office.
New third party lending requirements were passed out to the attendees.
Annual career school convention will be November 8-10, 2006. Terry Zaleski, the Executive Director of the Coalition, is the contact person regarding this year’s convention. He states there will be round table discussions and they will be honoring students who have achieved a high level of success.
The next meeting is January 24, 2007