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Corporal punishment and expulsions targeted; debt to Edison Learning discussed

The board of the Intercultural Charter School met at 6 p.m. Sept. 15, with five members present and an audience of 16, including a reporter from The Lens.

A development report by the board acknowledged the legal obligation to provide the public with complete records of board meetings and activities.

Board member Al Alcazar said he is developing a procedure for monthly evaluations of the school principal’s performance.

The school is also developing rules that will end corporal punishment of students by their parents on school grounds. Offenders will be reported to child protective services. Board member Cam-Thanh Tran assured that translations of this rule would be provided to Spanish and Vietnamese speakers.

The board took no votes, because not enough members were present to comprise a quorum.

Principal Daphyne Burnett presented an action plan for teachers to resolve school conflicts and expand instructional support. Staff and board members stressed the need for a behavioral specialist and emphasized that in-school alternatives to heavy reliance on suspension and expulsion must be found. More para-professionals in special education services are needed, particularly for the expanded pre-kindergarten program, the board was advised. Additional funding and the need for a clearer staff work plan also were stressed.

A financial report from Edison Learning Inc., the for-profit company that partners with the school, shows a budget deficit of more than $300,000. This may be partially recovered through Title One grants and Medicaid.

The board has asked Edison Learning for a budget breakdown of revenues and expenses in the past and current school years. Edison Learning has proposed a plan that pairs debt forgiveness with budget cuts.

The board will meet in executive session to develop an alternative strategy for dealing with the debt to Edison.

The next board meeting is scheduled at 6 pm on Oct. 2.

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