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Sound Bites: Fairfield schools delay redistricting plans to address racial imbalance

A student works on math problems.
Julia Nikhinson
A student works on math problems.

Good morning. New York has banned facial recognition from being used in public schools.

Districts had sought to use facial recognition to enhance security, but the new rule seeks to address inaccuracies and disparities it projects on people of color, nonbinary, transgender and women, as well as older New Yorkers. Advocates said schools should be a safe environment for students to learn and grow, not a place to be monitored, violating the privacy of students. 

Any other biometric tool would be considered on an individual basis, considering privacy implications.

Here's a bite-sized look at what else we're hearing:

Implementing the new time-of-use electric rate on Long Island is postponed until 2025. The Long Island Power Authority delayed the change of rate structure, citing challenges in migrating its hundreds of thousands of customers that was expected to start next year. Under the plan, those who shift their peak electric use from 3 to 7 p.m. will receive time-of-use discounts.

The University of Connecticut continues its deal with Hartford XL Center. The UConn Board of Trustees has made a deal to keep basketball and hockey games at the XL Center for this upcoming year — following a threat from the university president, Radenka Maric, to pull games due to the cost. The board approved a $1.55 million contract with the company that owns the arena, Global Spectrum/Oak View Group.

Fairfield refuses redistricting plan. The Board of Education in Fairfield has yet to pursue the five redistricting options after data showed there would not be enough classrooms to accommodate the proposals. Board chair Jennifer Jacobsen said the board will draft a resolution identifying redistricting scenarios that comply with state law, which requires all public schools to remain within 25 percentage points of the district-wide average of racial minority student population.

New York’s ethics commission meets after a judge ruled it’s unconstitutional. An appellate court allowed the state Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to resume its work while it challenges the ruling. Members proposed seeking more state resources in 2024, including funding to expand its workforce by 40%.

The man who attacked Lee Zeldin has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. David Jukabonis faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine after pleading guilty to assaulting former U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) during a campaign stop for governor in July 2022. Jukanbonis is allowed to live independently in his apartment with access to his vehicle. The former veteran has not violated conditions of his plea deal and attended treatment programs.

Discrimination in the Amazon facility leads to a lawsuit. Amazon is being sued by a group of employees who found several nooses at a construction site at its Windsor facility in 2021. The Windsor Police Department has made no arrests. The employees — who identify as African American and Puerto Rican — filed discrimination complaints. According to previous complaints filed to the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the construction company, Wayne J. Griffin Electric, has a history of hiring predominantly white employees for higher-paying jobs.

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Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.