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Patchogue-Medford seniors win battle with school board

KW: One victory for providing fair and useful public education. BOCES is a cooperative system of local school districts which is supposed to help them pool resources to offer programs that individual schools might not be able to provide themselves. (There are good and bad points to the BOCES system. But, it has many important programs.) Glad the students in this case will get the occupational training that they worked for.

While we are on the topic…BOCES offers an excellent program for pregnant teen mothers to continue their education through a special program. Unfortunately, districts are simply allowed to opt-in or opt-out at whim. It would be good to support your district “opting in”, and possibly make rules that would support a district’s responsibility to provide excellent education to teen mothers.

(excerpt from) Newsday
Patchogue-Medford seniors win battle with school board
Patchogue-Medford reinstates funding for BOCES program

September 30, 2009

Eight Patchogue-Medford High School seniors pulled from BOCES job-training courses in a cost-cutting move last week won reprieves last night when the school board voted unanimously to return them to training, and to add a few classmates as well.

At least five to 10 additional 12th-graders who qualified for BOCES training last spring, but were not allowed to enroll, now are expected to be included under the board’s new policy. The extra cost of BOCES tuition, estimated at $140,000-$220,000, will probably come from surplus budget funds, board leaders said last night.

A standing room only audience of parents, students and teachers applauded the vote…

On Friday, Patchogue-Medford officials canceled tuition payments for the original eight teens, who were training at a regional center in Bellport run by the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The number of district students enrolled at the center has dropped by nearly 100 since last year due to the district’s cost cuts.

Students and parents contended the removals, ordered by Superintendent Michael Mostow, were unfair, especially since the teens had spent nearly three weeks in their job courses. Some also noted that the students had received permission from high school administrators to attend BOCES classes, and that many had completed the bulk of their academic requirements as 11th-graders so they could concentrate on career training this year…

Last night’s 7-0 vote overturned Mostow’s decision.

Mostow had held he was simply following the board’s policy – a point disputed by some board members…

Last spring, Patchogue-Medford’s board decided not to enroll new students in BOCES job courses, but simply to let those already enrolled in two-year programs complete their work. The move saved the district an estimated $1 million…

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