In May, 103 of the city’s 5,700 local school council members were removed from office for failing to complete three days of training, as required by state law.
Members were to complete the training within six months of taking office last July.
“We offered 800 sessions to accommodate people’s schedules,” says Carlos Azcoitia, director of Schools and Community Relations. “We had TV training and makeup sessions from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the board and the regional offices. Then we sent people a certified letter and held public meetings to find out why they couldn’t attend. We really went out of our way.”
Azcoitia says members offered a variety of reasons for not completing the training. “Some said their work schedules had changed, and some said they had been on board from the beginning and didn’t need training,” he reports. “Still, I think that only 103 out of 5,700 members is very good. People told us that no one would comply with this policy, but the majority did. It shows our council members are, indeed, committed.”
The most members that any council lost was three, says Azcoitia, and that happened at three schools.
“In those cases, it should not affect a quorum,” says Azcoitia. “Many of these members were not attending the meetings anyway. Also, schools are putting out the word to fill their vacancies for the end of this term. Letters have been sent out through the children, and we are working with schools and making sure they have all the forms they need for potential applicants.”