(a) The board shall engage in a constant review and appraisal of education in this Commonwealth. The board's evaluation shall take into account such matters as educational objectives, alternative organizational patterns, alternative programs of study, and the operating efficiency of the educational system. The chairman of the board shall refer all studies and investigations to one of its councils as hereinafter provided, and shall receive and place on the board's agenda the findings and recommendations of the councils for appropriate action by the board.
(b) The Council of Basic Education shall have the power, and its duty shall be to:
(1) develop a master plan for basic education in this Commonwealth, as provided by law, for adoption by the board;
(2) investigate programs, conduct research studies and formulate policy proposals in all educational areas not within the purview of higher education, including, but not limited to;
(i) the creation, merger, consolidation and reorganization of school districts, the establishment of joint schools, area career and technical schools and such other administrative organizations as may be provided by law;
(ii) the operation of small high schools, one-room schools, summer schools, extension education programs and such other special schools as may be provided by law;
(iii) the location, design, safety, health and educational features of public school buildings and equipment;
(iv) the transportation of public school pupils, vehicle characteristics and driver qualifications;
(v) admission, attendance, graduation and other separation requirements;
(vi) the education and training of exceptional children;
(vii) the subjects to be taught and the activities to be conducted in elementary, secondary, adult education and other schools;
(viii) the qualifications for employment of professional personnel in the public schools; and
(ix) education and training in trauma-informed approaches.
(3) encourage and promote such agricultural, industrial, career and technical education programs as the needs of this Commonwealth may, from time to time, require; and
(4) investigate and, if deemed appropriate, make recommendations pertaining to the work of any schools of design, schools of industrial arts or industrial schools to which the General Assembly may make an appropriation.
(c) The Council of Higher Education shall have the power and its duty shall be to:
(1) develop a master plan for higher education in this Commonwealth, including a system of community colleges as provided by law, for adoption by the board;
(2) develop standards for the approval of colleges and universities for the granting of certificates and degrees;
(3) develop standards for all higher education building projects involving the use of State funds or the funds of any Commonwealth instrumentality; and
(4) investigate programs, conduct research studies and formulate policy proposals in all areas pertaining to higher education in this Commonwealth, including a system of community colleges and technical institutes as provided by law.