Test scores may let district shed ‘in need of improvement’ tag

Gloversville school officials could not acknowledge Tuesday that their special education middle scho
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Gloversville school officials could not acknowledge Tuesday that their special education middle school students passed this year’s standardized tests, but sources close to the district said good test results are in and will take the school off the state’s “in need of improvement” list.

School officials said the test results will not be officially released by the state Education Department until Commissioner Richard P. Mills makes a formal announcement.

An Education Department spokesman said Mills will release test results on Monday as the state Board of Regents meets in Albany.

Assistant Gloversville Superintendent Roger Rooney said the district cannot discuss the standardized test results until Mills releases the information.

“All we can say is that we are hopeful,” Rooney said.

Favorable test results could make a big difference for Gloversville, which has been on the improvement list for three years after a small number of special education students at the middle school failed an English language arts exam.

Because Gloversville remained on the list in April — while the January test results were pending — the district was added to the state’s Contract for Excellence program. Contract for Excellence districts are forced to use much of their state aid for special initiatives designed to improve student achievement. In Gloversville, $1.8 million in state aid must be spent on the initiatives, which Rooney said are in the process of being planned.

Education Department officials have said the law clearly states that regardless of how a district performed on the most recent test, if the district is on the improvement list in April and receives a state aid increase of 10 percent or greater, it is conscripted into the Contract for Excellence program.

In an effort supported by the New York State School Boards Association, state Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna, attempted to rescue Gloversville and at least three other districts expecting good test results but still placed in the contract program.

On June 12, the state Senate unanimously passed Farley’s bill excusing districts from the contract if they are removed from the improvement list before the new school year. The bill, also sponsored by Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, remains in the Assembly’s Education Committee.

The clock is ticking. The legislature adjourns next week for the summer.

Barbara Bradley, a state School Boards Association official, said her organization is “vigorously supporting” the legislation, which she said would affect at least three other districts.

In the final days of the spring session, she said, efforts are being made to find a sponsor in the Assembly’s Democratic majority.

Categories: Schenectady County

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