As students prepare for the first round of testing under the state’s new Common Core standards, parents and educators are questioning the tests and why states seem to be in a rush to implement them. Reply

Critics say reforms go too quickly
Parents, teachers question pace of program’s testing
BY ANDREW LARSON REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

WOLCOTT — As students prepare for the first round of testing under the state’s new Common Core standards, parents and educators are questioning the tests and why states seem to be in a rush to implement them. On Thursday night, Wolcott school system’s Director of Curriculum Frank Purcaro presented an overview of Common Core, including the accompanying Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests, to parents and members of the public. Students will take the tests in grades 3 through 8 and in the 11th grade. This year, they’re considered pilot tests. In 2014-15, the tests, which are taken on a computer, will become “adaptive,” meaning the questions become progressively more difficult until they reach a student’s ability level. Common Core is intRA_Mastheadended to help standardize the skills students are expected to learn at certain grade levels, allowing achievement to be measured uniformly across the nation.

School board urging state help with budget-North Canaan Board of Education January 9 Reply

BY RUTH EPSTEIN

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

CANAAN — With another large assessment looming for the town in the proposed 2014-15 Region 1 Board of Education budget, local school board members ex­pressed the need to let the state know that help is need­ed to curb the rising costs.
During its meeting last week, the North Canaan Board of Education heard from Ned Gow, its represen­tative to the Region 1 board, that the preliminary figures show an increase of $460,000 for the town’s share. This comes on top of a $300,000 rise in the cur­rent plan. The proposed to­tal for Canaan is $4,641,430 out of a total $15,592,880, which reflects a 7.98 per­cent increase. Gow said the town’s percentage is rising from 30 to 32.3 percent of the total, but also the overall budget is higher.

When he pointed out that the town’s share of the state Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) grant is more than other towns, member Karen Riccardelli noted while that’s true, their revenues from the grant have remained stagnant as their percentage of the costs has increased over time. She said she is sure the high school is as important to the other five towns in the region as it is to Canaan and all have an interest in mak­ing sure it’s affordable. She suggested as a group they go out to Hartford to ex­press their concerns.
She suggested that before the costs become too much of a burden to Canaan the town should request the state either increase its share of the ECS grant or allow it to be more flexible and do what it thinks necessary to keep the school affordable.
Gow said he’d be looking at where cuts can be made without hurting the students.
But Riccardelli, noting that if the current proposal goes through, the town would have a $760,000 increase over two years

 

 

The Region 1 administration is considering offer­ing early retirement incentives to staff members 4

The Region 1 administration is considering offer­ing early retirement incentives to staff members, Business Manager Samuel Herrick told the Board of Education Wednesday.Twenty three teachers would be eligible if they use the same formula that’s been used in the past in which years of service and age add up to a cer­tain number. Of the 23, 11 are employed in the pupil services department. Depending on what is offered and what positions need to be filled, there may not be savings.
Herrick said the district has been fortunate in being able to bring in youthful, qualified people.

Region One Budget Hearing January 8 2014 Reply

The Region 1 Board of Education was presented a preliminary 2014-15 budget on Wednesday evening.

The initial total for the three sections of the budget is $15.5 milion, an increase of 7.9 percent above the current plan. The high school proposal is $8.6 million, a 9.2 per­cent raise, while the pupil services budget is $5.9 million, a 8.1 percent increase. The central office budget of $1 million is a reduction of $25,527 or 2.44 percent. At the end of the meeting Canaan representative Ned Gow, who is new to the board, said, “I’m going to be lynched in North Canaan. This is a substantial increase after the $300,000 one last year.” Chairman Andrea Downs of Falls Village said, “I think you’ll see significant changes.”

The plan also includes the enrollment numbers for each of the six towns in the region and their assessments. For next year the proposed per pupil cost is $24,901, up from the current $23,106, which Herrick termed “pretty significant.”