A report completed in October by the 18-member Commission on Education recommends "sweeping hierarchical change," according to the Independent.
Citing problems ranging from insufficient operating and capital improvement budgets to low morale and chronic absenteeism, the report recommends critical changes, including:
— Transferring governing power from the Education Department to the elected Board of Education.
— Granting more internal financial control, including procurement of goods and services.
— Reforming hiring practices to let Education officials hire most personnel and do it more quickly than the current system allows.
— Requiring 180 days of instruction, exclusing staff development.
The commission report says low student standardized test scores, poor teacher and administrator morale, chronic shortages of supplies, materials and textbooks and critical Middle States accreditation reports have created a "near-crisis atmosphere," according to the Independent.
The commission's report has been delivered to outgoing Gov. Roy L. Schneider.

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