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September 13, 2012

 

McGraw hires principal, ratifies teacher contract

3-year contract gives 2.5 percent raise

By SCOTT CONROE
Staff Reporter
sconroe@cortlandstandard.net

McGRAW — The Board of Education hired an elementary school principal and ratified the district teachers’ contract Wednesday.
The district also received its second grant of $97,000 per year for three years from the Governor’s Office, to improve students’ academic performance and college preparation.
The board hired Susan Prince of Tully as its new elementary principal at a salary of $70,000 per year. She begins work on Oct. 15.
Prince is currently program director for childhood development at ARC of Onondaga, a non-profit early-intervention preschool for children from infants to 5 years old. She has an associate’s degree from Cayuga Community College, a bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education from Keuka College, and a master’s degree in reading and administrative certificate from SUNY Cortland.
Prince replaces Interim Principal Mike Doughty, who has been in his position since July. He replaced Beth Carsello, who left the district to pursue other career options.
Doughty said he has enjoyed his interim job, especially getting hugs from elementary students every day when they come to school.
“I didn’t get hugs at the high school,” he said, referring to his stint as McGraw High School interim principal in 2007-08.
The board unanimously ratified its agreement with the McGraw Faculty Association, which the teachers’ union passed in June along with its Annual Professional Performance Review plan.
The contract is for three years and gives teachers a pay increase of 2.5 percent per year.
The union made concessions on health care plans.
Because the APPR plan was submitted to the state Education Department in June and approved by Sept. 1, the district will receive a second Performance Improvement Competitive Grant from the Governor’s Office for $97,000 per year for three years, said Superintendent of Schools Mary Curcio.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo set aside $50 million in competitive grants for school districts last winter, aimed at helping students with high need economically. Roughly 43 percent of McGraw’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch, which was a factor in the district’s application along with discussion of why its students need more career and college preparation.
The McGraw district received a similar grant in June, for the same amount, to use in improving reading levels among its middle school students. The money was used to hire a library aide and purchase READ 180 software, a system for helping students improve reading and then assessing their progress.
READ 180 is made by Scholastic, the same company that publishes books with its Scholastic Press.
The grant application included discussion of why the district moved sixth-graders to the high school building to form a middle school with seventh- and eighth-graders, a move the district made in the fall of 2011.
“I want these kids to have the best we can get for them,” Curcio said. She has been helped, she said, by a skilled grant writer who is a friend from her years in graduate school.
Curcio said the district has applied for a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, to pay for measures that would improve the quality of education in the district.
The money would pay for a full-time librarian, technology such as iPod cards and new books, split between nonfiction and fiction. The district has only one librarian now, who splits her time between the two schools.
Curcio said the district qualifies for the grant because a certain percentage of its students are at a certain poverty level according to the U.S. Census.
“It’s not the same as the free or reduced lunch statistic from the state,” she said.

 

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