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News stories tagged with "schools"

We’re in a period where we’re going to have to make some tough choices.

NYS Education boss says consolidations, mergers necessary

New York State's Education Commissioner says school district consolidations and mergers are a necessary fact of the on going economic downturn. John King is encouraging schools upstate and on Long Island to consider the controversial mergers. In Albany, Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article
Carrots and tomatoes are favorite veggies for this group of young gardeners.
Carrots and tomatoes are favorite veggies for this group of young gardeners.

Crazy for school food from the backyard

The end of the growing season hasn't dampened excitement about a school garden project in Canton. Students and teachers at Canton Central School will celebrate the produce from their school garden and local farms with a series of meals and programs this season. Five schools in St. Lawrence County will take part in the state's "Farm to You Fest", an event highlighting local food in schools.

Ingredients for today's lunch will be taken from a garden plot behind the high school and donated by local growers. Next week, the school will celebrate its first "Harvest Festival". Elementary classes will take part in food-themed relay races and taste tests, while high school students will help younger students learn about the health benefits of eating locally grown food.

Todd Moe stopped by this week and found second and third graders enjoying the harvest as much as they did planting seeds last spring.  Go to full article
The community has pulled together and...all of the businesses are planning on being open Labor Day weekend.

New Yorkers work to get schools, businesses, and homes back to normal

Roughly 20-percent of Vermont schools are delaying the start of classes because of damage from Irene. Most of the delays are because of washed out roads and damaged bridges that make it impossible for students to get school safely.

But few - if any - schools in New York are opening late.

Julie Grant reports on how New Yorkers are working to get schools, businesses, and homes back to normal after the storm.  Go to full article
Canton Central School.
Canton Central School.

Schools worry about the costs of Race to the Top

Schools are getting ready to open for the year. And this fall most have some new obligations. New York was awarded nearly $700 million from the federal government as part of President Obama's Race to the Top education program. Now districts are gearing up to put the new mandates into practice.

Stephen Todd is assistant superintendent of the St. Lawrence and Lewis BOCES, which serves 18 school districts in Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. He says there are three major pieces to Race to the Top.

First, changing the core curriculum in math and English classes. "Instead of trying to teach a mile wide and an inch deep, let's teach what's essential and teach it really, really well. Instead of trying to read everything under the sun, let's make sure what we are reading, we are reading carefully and closely and deeply."

Second, says Todd: data analysis. In the past, he says, schools kept statistics about students and classrooms, but the analysis came only after the school year was over.

Todd says that's about to change: "Instead of doing an autopsy, let's do a physical. Part way through the year, we'll look at the patient. The individual student, the collective group, whether it be classroom or building. Let's see what's working, what's not working. Let's make mid course corrections, that allow us if there are problems to fix those and save the patient. So we're not doing an autopsy later, we're treating the patient as it goes along."

The third major piece of race to the top has to do with keeping closer track of teacher performance. Julie Grant visited the Canton Central Schools to find out what's changing with evaluations, and she found that both teachers and administrators are concerned about the cost in time and money.  Go to full article
SUNY Provost David Lavallee talks with SUNY Canton and Potsdam councils
SUNY Provost David Lavallee talks with SUNY Canton and Potsdam councils

SUNY apologizes, but still plans one president in Canton and Potsdam

State University officials from Albany apologized to representatives from SUNY Canton today for removing the college's popular president without first informing school leaders. Still, SUNY officials said the plan is for one president to lead the SUNY colleges in Canton and Potsdam. Julie Grant was there, and files this report.  Go to full article
We’ve tried to be extremely reasonable. We aren’t going for the Wisconsin, nuclear war approach.

Tax cap could prompt union, management clash

The prospect of a property tax cap could heighten tensions between workers and management at public schools in the state, as both sides gear up to fight over shrinking revenues and resources.

Karen Dewitt reports from Albany.  Go to full article

Regional high schools among consolidation options

The public got its first glimpse last night of a study to deal with St. Lawrence County's declining school enrollment. The county's 18 districts lost 2,000 students in less than a decade.

The study commissioned by BOCES considers little fixes like shared services and big, controversial moves like merging districts. It also focuses on a middle, largely untested option - the creation of regional high schools. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

School budget votes mixed, tough times not over

Voters across New York headed to the polls yesterday to cast their ballots on some pretty tough school budget proposals.

After lawmakers cut over a billion dollars from statewide education aid, schools in every district were left figuring out where to cut and whether to ask voters for more money. And next year, schools may face a state-mandated cap on a vital revenue source: local property taxes.

Budgets were shot down yesterday for Schroon Lake, Ticonderoga, Northville and Lake George central schools. In St. Lawrence County, Edwards-Knox, Massena, and St. Lawrence Central budgets went down. In others, the margins were razor thin. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article
Cynthia Ford-Johnston (Photo:  Keene Central School)
Cynthia Ford-Johnston (Photo: Keene Central School)

The North Country's smallest school districts under fire

This week we've been looking at big cuts in state aid that are hitting schools in New York state. Governor Andrew Cuomo has specifically targeted more than 200 very small school districts, with fewer than a thousand students.

He says many of these hyper-small districts are inefficient and should be consolidated as a cost-savings measure. His budget included a $250 million incentive fund to encourage schools to consider mergers. It turns out, more than forty school districts here in the North Country fall under that thousand-kid threshold, and many more of our districts just barely exceed that number.

Cynthia Ford-Johnston is superintendent of Keene Central School in the Adirondacks, which has roughly 170 students, pre-K though high school. She told Brian Mann that small schools face enormous pressure now to consider mergers.  Go to full article
Beekmantown students rally to protest job, program cuts (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Beekmantown students rally to protest job, program cuts (Photo: Brian Mann)

Students stage vigils, protests as school cuts run deep

In a sometimes emotional public meeting last night, parents, students and taxpayers questioned Beekmantown's board of education about proposed teacher cuts that would affect a wide range of programs. The meeting followed a day of vigils and protests by students, who were also on hand in large numbers for last night's session.

The $38.7 million budget outlined by the district restored some of the most unpopular cuts, to arts and music programs. But it still contemplates more than a dozen staff cuts. As Brian Mann reports, many kids worry that the core quality of their school is slipping away.  Go to full article

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