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June 26, 2013

 

City BOE: Ease testing demands

By SCOTT CONROE
Contributing Writer

The city Board of Education has joined other school districts that are asking the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to back off the testing push that took over classrooms this year.
The board passed a resolution Tuesday, asking legislators and the state Education Department to alter testing so it fits a wider range of students.
“The over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality,” the resolution said, adding that funding tied to test results has caused teachers to “teach to the test” instead of encouraging problem solving, collaboration and creativity.
The testing push has caused negative results for students, the resolution said, such as pushing them out of school and creating a poor school climate. The tests hurt students of all backgrounds but especially low-income students, English language learners and children with disabilities.
New York began stressing improvement in assessment tests this year, as a way of meeting federal standards for money from the federal Race to the Top program. Teachers and parents have said students spend too much time preparing for tests.
Parents have led protests in Albany and have in some cases declined to let their children take the tests.
There was no discussion before the vote. Donald Colongeli voted no; the vote was 6-1.
Superintendent of Schools Michael Hoose said other districts have sent similar resolutions to the state. The language in Tuesday’s resolution came from the Baldwinsville Board of Education.
Tuesday’s meeting was the last one for Bill Young, a board member the past six years who did not seek re-election in May.
Young served as board president for 2010-11 and vice president for 2009-10 and 2011-12. Hoose presented him with a plaque. Peg Peri of Cincinnatus, a director of the Central New York School Boards Association, thanked him for his service.
The meeting was the first one for new member Judie Murphy, elected last month and sworn in June 19. She replaced Bill Stark, who was appointed last year and did not seek election.
Because Stark was appointed, not elected, his term ended with the May election.
The other new member, Dan Sidebotham, will be sworn in July 2 at the reorganizational meeting.
The board voted unanimously to raise the tuition rate for nonresident students by $500 for current students, to $2,900 for kindergarten through sixth grade and $3,100 for grades 7-12.
The board raised the tuition for new students by $1,878 for grades K-6, to $4,278, and by $2,750 for grades 7-12, to $5,350.
Hoose said the rate for new students matches the overall state rate. There was no increase for 2012-13. Before that, tuition went up $500 per year for four years.
In the June 18 meeting, Hoose said for 2012-13 there were six nonresident students through foster care and 12 others who paid tuition directly.
Thirteen nonresident students did not pay tuition because their parents work for the district.
Hoose said three neighboring districts do not allow nonresident students who pay tuition.
The board voted to shift $1.9 million in reserve funds to the undesignated fund balance, for use in 2013-14.
The money came from three reserves: $500,000 from the tax certiorari reserve, $400,000 from the liability reserve and $1 million from the insurance reserve. The reserve use was part of the 2013-14 budget approved by voters.

 

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