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News stories tagged with "teachers"

Parents, teachers and taxpayers gather at the Ticonderoga High School gym. Photos: Brian Mann
Parents, teachers and taxpayers gather at the Ticonderoga High School gym. Photos: Brian Mann

Seeking a future for Ticonderoga's cherished public schools

North Country Public Radio has been checking in with schools around our region that are struggling with major budget shortfalls. Many districts have seen sharp declines in state aid over the last two years.

They also face rising costs for pensions and healthcare. And now they're also trying to live within the new two percent cap on property tax increases.

Around 200 people from various St. Lawrence County school districts gathered in Canton Central's high school auditorium last night to talk about how to bring about change in the way New York distributes state aid. The Watertown Daily Times reports some suggested filing a class-action lawsuit against the current formula.

Two busloads of students and adults are planning a bus trip to Albany to lobby lawmakers later this month.

Brian Mann was in Ticonderoga for a public meeting last night, where locals rolled up their sleeves and tried to sketch out a future for their public schools.  Go to full article

Quinipiac Poll finds voters trust Cuomo more than teachers' unions

A new poll finds that New York state voters trust Governor Andrew Cuomo to safeguard education more than they trust the teachers' unions.

Cuomo has pushed unions hard on teacher evaluations. Today is the deadline het set for unions and the state Education Department to come up with a new plan for evaluations. He has said he'll impose his own reforms if they don't.  Go to full article
This is what the taxpayers are asking for...They want government that's affordable.

Coalition wants to pay for tax cap with benefits cuts for teachers, public workers

A coalition of business lobbyists, city and village mayors, and school boards are pushing hard for reduced pension and health benefits for their employees. Karen DeWitt reports that effort is part of a package of mandate relief they say is necessary to help communities around New York live within the new 2% property tax cap law.  Go to full article

Teachers union says it will work "cooperatively" with the state

The state's major teachers union says it wants to work cooperatively with the State Education Department, now that a judge has struck down key elements of new teacher evaluation regulations, but the court case could continue for some time. In Albany, Karen DeWitt has the story.  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
Weíve tried to be extremely reasonable. We arenít 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
They didnít have to do it...and the board appreciates it and I want to believe the community will appreciate it as well.

Teachers step up to help school budgets

School across the North Country finalized their budget plans last week. Now they go before the voters on Tuesday, May 17.

Most spending plans raise taxes and cut staff and programs. But the situation could have been worse if teachers didn't help out.

According to New York State United Teachers, at least 200 local teachers' unions - or about a third statewide - accepted contract concessions or restructuring to give more money to their school budgets.

Pressure to do so came from the highest levels of state government, and some say teachers didn't give enough. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Budget protesters plan camp-in in Albany

Teachers, public workers, renters, health care advocates and college students are packing sleeping bags and toothbrushes in preparation for a massive protest of state budget cuts at the Capitol. The demonstrators from various groups across the state plan an overnight camp-in starting this afternoon to protest Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to close a $10 billion budget gap with cuts in education and health care spending and state worker layoffs. Organizers expect up to 1,000 people to participate in a variety of events.

Meanwhile, lawmakers passed the first state budget bills last night, and say they are still hoping for an on time budget. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article
They want to oppose the cuts politically, so what do they say? ĎIím going to hurt your child.'

Cuomo defends education cuts

The fight between Cuomo and school districts flared up when Governor Cuomo delivered a stern lecture to schools, who are complaining about the governor's proposed budget cuts to education, saying they are playing a "game" and issuing empty "threats". Karen Dewitt reports.  Go to full article
This is not acceptable for our community to cut our young energetic teachers who are our next generation of community leaders.

Tri-Lakes teachers, supporters look for equity in job cuts

School districts across the North Country are working to assemble their budgets for the next school year.

Faced with rising expenses, looming state aid reductions and the possibility of a tax levy cap, many districts are planning sweeping cuts that may include staff and teacher layoffs.

That threat has left many teachers on edge, wondering whether their jobs are secure.

In Saranac Lake, where the school district is considering layoffs for the second consecutive year, a large group of teachers showed up at a school board meeting this week to deliver a statement to school officials.

Chris Knight has details.  Go to full article

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