Unfunded Mandate Mars First Board Meeting of New School Year

The September 11 meeting of the Rye City School District’s Board of Education was short but not that sweet.  

Published September 14, 2012 6:58 PM
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The September 11 meeting of the Rye City School District’s Board of Education was short but not that sweet.  

 

By Sarah Varney

 

The September 11 meeting of the Rye City School District’s Board of Education was short but not that sweet.

 

On this 11th anniversary of the September 11 twrrorist attacks, the meeting featured the introduction of incoming Superintendent Frank Alvarez and his report to the board.

 

Unfortunately, the bulk of that report centered on one of the hairiest unfunded mandates to come along in a while: a teacher evaluation system dubbed APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) that has already cost the district over $100,000. “This is one of those state mandates that is absolutely unfunded but one that will make a difference,” said Alvarez.

 

Board President Laura Slack was less charitable about the money that the school district has had to cough up for the new teacher evaluation system. “This is an unfunded state mandate that was put in at the same time that the tax cap passed. We have now spent $100,000 on implementing APPR,” she noted.

 

The adoption of the APPR requires school districts to implement a system to measure teacher, principal, and administrator effectiveness through a formula that uses student test scores, individual student results for learning objectives (SLOs) devised by the teachers and teacher and principal evaluations. Development of the SLOs for 108 classrooms — one for each — has been time-consuming, said Dr. Mary Anne Evangelist, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. Evangelist has been leading the effort to get APPR implemented before the January 17 deadline. “This mandate required negotiations with the teachers and it was a long process. The teachers played an important role in choosing what assessments we’re going to use. I’m very appreciative of their input,” said Evangelist.

 

Fortunately, there was some plain old good news to come out of the meeting as well. Assistant Superintendent for Business Kathleen Ryan reported that the newly renovated boys’ and girls’ bathrooms — two in the middle school and two in the high school — were open for business on September 5 and that the student reviews have been enthusiastic.

 

Ryan reported that groundwork to convert the heating system in the middle and high schools from oil to gas is on schedule as well. The excavator that sat in front of the schools for most of the summer was used for this project. According to Ryan, progress on planning for the science wing project is on track, too. The administration will deliver a full update on that project at the next School Board meeting October 2.

 

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