The Central Bucks Board Note
October 2022 Meetings in Review
Message from Board President Dana Hunter
Welcome to Board Note, the monthly summary of news and information from the Central Bucks Board of School Directors. Through communications like this, our goal is to provide you with factual and timely updates that help you stay informed. We encourage you to read this newsletter and to click the links below to view or listen to the recordings of recent board and committee meetings.
In my message, I will periodically share the latest on specific initiatives. This month, I’d like to update you on the Board’s response to the recent action by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU). At the October 2022 board meeting, I shared a statement on the matter, which you can listen to here – please go to minute 20:07.
Tomorrow, at our November 15 regular meeting, the Board of School Directors will vote on the engagement of the Duane Morris law firm to represent the Central Bucks School District in connection with an administrative complaint filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, which alleges discrimination on the basis of sex. Former United States Attorney William McSwain and former federal prosecutor Michael Rinaldi will lead the representation.
If approved, as part of this work, Mr. McSwain and Mr. Rinaldi will perform an internal investigation into these issues and review the district’s policies related to these matters. Both Mr. McSwain and Mr. Rinaldi have decades of investigative experience and are well-suited to serve and advise the Board as it works to ensure a safe learning environment for all the district’s children.
On October 11, the Board called upon the ACLU to provide the district with an unredacted copy of the complaint and to bring to the Board’s attention specific allegations of discrimination, harassment, or bullying so that the allegations can be addressed appropriately and with due regard for the rights of all involved. Unfortunately, the ACLU has refused to do so. The Board is unwavering in its commitment to Central Bucks students and families and to ensuring that a high-quality, safe, and productive learning environment is provided for every student. There is no tolerance for discrimination, harassment, or bullying of any kind.
In addition to withholding information about specific allegations, the ACLU has chosen to use its complaint as a partisan, political tool. When announcing the ACLU’s complaint in a video posted to its Twitter page, ACLU Legal Director, Witold Walczak, said, “in November 2021, the School Board was captured by extremists.” Ironically, the video was posted on the ACLU’s Twitter page under a banner that reads: “ACLU—Let People Vote.”
To be clear, what Mr. Walczak is complaining about is the fact that the residents of the Central Bucks School District went to the polls and elected their representatives. The Board is not going to be distracted by the ACLU’s tactics. We will continue to focus on academics and on common-sense decisions to support the educational experience for every single student in the district. The Board will continue to support our parents and their right to direct the course of their children’s education, and the Board will continue to do the work for which it was elected. We are eager for the findings of the Duane Morris investigation in order to address what has otherwise been, for nearly a month, hidden information.
Meeting Students Where They Are – Superintendent’s Advisory Panel
At the October 11 Board Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Abram M. Lucabaugh updated the Board on his work with "student advisory panels.”
Last year, Dr. Lucabaugh met with 1,500 students in grades 4-12 representing all 23 Central Bucks schools. These informal panel discussions gave students an opportunity to speak freely in a safe environment about school, concerns they have as students, and more. Four primary themes grew out of these conversations, including depth of content, authentic assessment, mental health, and relationships. Feedback from these panels helps guide conversations about what is being done well and what may improve teaching and learning in Central Bucks.
This school year's student advisory schedule is planned to include some 1,700 students, during which Dr. Lucabaugh will ask what can make their experience as a student better, and to describe some of the biggest challenges they face as a student in their school.
Curriculum Committee Meeting - October 12
- Consensus to pilot Digital Imaging 2 for the 2023-2024 school year. (Discussion begins at :45 here.)
- Moved to November board meeting for approval a Gaming Design Course of Study for the 2023-2024 school year, following its successful pilot program. (Discussion begins at 34:34 here.)
- Reviewed the proposed Fall Keystone Exam Testing Schedule (discussion begins at 22:31 here) and the Fall High School Final Exam Schedule (discussion begins at 31:14 here). Be sure to check out the proposed testing schedules at the links above.
Policy Committee Meeting - October 12
- Moved Policy 103: Nondiscrimination in School and Classroom Practices out of committee with the recommendation that it be retired as it is repetitive and that active Policy 103.1: Nondiscrimination – Qualified Students with Disabilities take its place. (Discussion begins at 20:50 here.)
- Moved Policy 122: Extracurricular, Cocurricular Activities and Athletics out of committee. (Discussion begins at 23:40 here.)
Update: Further discussion of policy items will pause until the December board meeting due to the potential engagement of Duane Morris.
Operations Committee Meeting - October 26
Finance Committee Meeting - October 26
- Moved Act I Index Files and Budgetary Timelines forward to the November board meeting for approval. (Discussion begins at :24 here.)
- *Moved Monarch Associates for Director of HR Search out of committee. Administration is currently interviewing internal and external candidates for the Director of HR position and is seeking approval of the Monarch Associates contract to utilize only if the position goes unfilled with the current slate of candidates. (Discussion begins at 5:11 here.)
- Of note was an interesting discussion regarding the impact of the labor shortage on school busing and transportation. (Discussion begins at 14:11 here.)
Update: *Administration has put forth a final candidate for the Director of HR position and will be seeking approval of that candidate at November’s board meeting; therefore, the Monarch Associates contract will not be necessary.
Central Bucks School District
The members of the Central Bucks School District's Board of School Directors each represent one of nine regions in the district. Each region includes one or more municipalities. While each region elects one school director, members represent the interests of the district as a whole once elected.
Regular school board meetings are generally held on the second Tuesday of the month. Download a complete list of 2022 meetings, including regular meetings and meetings of the board's committees. Download meeting agendas.
Correspondence for the Board of School Directors should be sent to Stephanie Radcliffe, Secretary to the Board, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The "Central Bucks Board Note," is an e-newsletter designed to provide Central Bucks School District constituents with an overview of the work of their Board of School Directors.
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