Advisory Council Minutes - February 24, 2007
Members in Attendance:
Michael J. Hatten | Acting Chair
Rabbi Yerachmiel Barash | Member
James M. Devaney | Member
Vincent Ferrara | Member
Karen Bogucki | Ex. Officio
Carole W. Yates | Ex. Officio
Call to Order:
Michael Hatten called the meeting to order at 10:30 am, with the announcement that Anthony Stanziani had resigned effective 12/13/06. He asked that all attendees sign-in as “Key Communicators” designating their name, organization they represent, and E-mail address.
Michael Hatten made a motion; seconded by Dr. James Devaney to accept the October 4, 2006 Minutes. Accepted unanimously as presented with certain structural amendments provided by Carole Yates and given to the recorder to revise and distribute.
Overview of Agenda:
Presented by Michael Hatten.
Carole Yates, BPSS Director, presented an update and status report regarding issues in several areas. Three criteria are being applied to reestablish the financial viability of institutions. Issuance of a performance bond, institutions would be required to collect tuition at graduation or supply evidence of an influx of capital backed by audited financial statements.
A new BPSS administrative computer system has been designed and is under development. It could take another two years to fully complete. It is anticipated that when the new system is fully operational, it will greatly enhance SED’s ability to function efficiently.
Presently BPSS personnel are down three support staff. Currently one “Temp” is working out of Albany on requests for Drake school records. The pressure on workload is growing, with Associates overseeing the largest number of licensed schools since 1989. Assistant Commissioner Joe Frey emphasized the importance of communicating by e-mail and submitting complete and accurate applications.
The Albany BPSS office will be moving into a temporary location as building renovations continue.
BPSS staff recently attended a homeland security conference in Washington D.C. The meeting focused on sharing of information and the status of foreign students. Present concerns revolve primarily around ESL schools.
Disciplinary actions instituted against unlicensed schools are having a minimal effect. BPSS does not have the authority to unilaterally take action. Unlicensed Schools continue to operate. Some schools go “exempt” and continue to operate by working directly with employers. The Bureau continues to see routine complaint investigations turn into major case investigations, as multiple violations are found.
Council Member Comments:
Dr. James Devaney indicated that California was planning to dismantle their Proprietary School Division. Michael Hatten asked that the Advisory Council be updated concerning the ramifications surrounding this plan.
Carole Yates acknowledged the Coalition conference at West Point as being extremely valuable and an overall great success.
Rabbi Barash reported on the Advisory Council membership. Eleven total seats are available, four are currently active. He would like to have an applicant from the ESL community. To be eligible individuals should be associated with institutions or agencies that are in good standing, are highly motivated to serve and be willing to actively participate on various sub-committees. Letters of recommendation should come from business, community, and political contacts. Rabbi Barash, currently has a number of applicants who have shown interest and will share and review them with Vincent Ferrara, the other sub-committee member.
Michael Hatten opened a discussion on a draft of what could be an Advisory Council Mission Statement. He distributed, for discussion, a list of topics he wanted the Council to comment on:
- Performance Outcomes
- Unlicensed Schools
- Equity in Postsecondary Education
- Regulatory Change
- Enhanced Services
- Strategies to Improve Institution Effectiveness
- Streamlining all aspects of the Educational Process
- Promoting Proprietary Education
- Improve Communication between Schools and SED
Vincent Ferrara felt “Improved Communication” and building a responsive relationship between the schools and SED was most critical. Perhaps an “ombudsman” type advocate position could best serve the needs of the currently licensed schools and those institutions looking for guidance during candidacy status.
Carole Yates responded to an inquiry about SED sponsored workshops by noting that several attempts were made in the past, with a very poor result. Monica Borden, BPSS Licensing Coordinator, announced that a conference on accreditation was open to a limited number of participants and that she has information on the registration process. She will post the availability on the SED web site.
Audience Comments & Questions:
Carole Yates related that there has been some legislative activity on the proposed statute. She commented that the language in § 5002 dealing with 300-hour limitation on tuition collection has been removed. The Bureau is looking for formal endorsement of the proposed statute from the New York State Coalition of Career Schools and the New York State Beauty Schools’ Association. Ms. Yates told the Council that the VESID conference room will not be available for future Council meetings until further notice due to renovations.
Randy Rock, ECM, commented on the new SED computer system by indicating that the existing Federal system offers excellent web based applications which features user friendly dropdown menus and links. He suggested that SED could benefit from using their expertise. Carole Yates responded that they were in contact with the Federal government personnel responsible and that their assistance has been very helpful.
Terry Zaleski, Executive Director of the Coalition, commented that many of the mission statement points prepared by Michael Hatten were addressed at the Coalition conference. He would like to see the development of an “on-line” teacher orientation program.
Ed Schwartz, Manhattan Institute, feels there is an unfair advantage given to hand picked schools by counselors in recruiting WIA students. Michael Hatten asked him for a detailed report to the Council, with suggestions.
David Sherwood, BPSS Associate, clarified the bureau’s inability to deal with unlicensed schools by adding that perhaps an office outside of SED could be established under the jurisdiction of the State Attorney General’s office.
Michael Hatten closed discussion by suggesting that adding Ex. Officio members to the Council i.e., from the Department of Labor, Consumer Protection, etc. could be helpful. He would also like to have guest speakers to discuss relevant postsecondary topics.
Next Meeting Date:
The next meeting will be scheduled for April 18, 2007, at a NYC school to be announced, with a 10:30 a.m. start.