A Message from the Superintendent’s Office
March 27, 2015
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you our thoughts about the New York State Education Department’s 3-8 state assessments. Very simply, we encourage participation in the required state testing. Media coverage continues to highlight and sensationalize families or students refusing to participate in the required exam, or opting out. Please understand, there are no “opt-out” provisions in State regulations that allow this to occur.
As a district, we keep the tests in perspective and use them as one metric of student performance. Local and state assessments provide important information for parents and the school district to determine how well our students are learning our rigorous curriculum. We use both formative and summative assessments to keep a watchful eye on student progress and realize that no single assessment tells the full story.
Our teachers want our students to be successful in meeting higher expectations in all curriculum areas. They have dedicated themselves to providing a learning environment that will foster growth in all areas and will intervene if a child is not advancing as quickly as expected or as quickly as he or she has in the past.
The New York State tests are one area that guides the decision-making regarding a child’s level of attainment and helps us determine if and when support systems are needed. If they are, Academic Intervention Services (AIS) or Response to Intervention (RTI) plans are put into place. These exams are also used as a benchmark to ensure that our students are progressing at a rate that will allow success in high school Regents and beyond. A variety of challenging assessments prepare our students for college and career readiness.
Additionally, there could be a negative impact on the school district if students refuse to take the state assessments. The state’s accountability system requires a metric, “Adequate Yearly Progress.” This measure is part of the state’s accountability reporting to the federal government. If fewer than 95% of our students participate in the testing program, we could be identified as a focus school in need of improvement, costing us significant funding to further demonstrate our effectiveness.
I do, however, recognize the numerous implementation flaws of this initiative. The rushed roll-out created unnecessary emphasis on testing rather than the deeper purpose of the new achievement standards and the focus on instructional improvement. Linking testing to teacher evaluation has created needless inequities and misrepresents the complexity of the teaching-learning process. I want to assure you that we take every possible measure to make the testing experience meaningful and connected to the work that students are involved in during their regular school day.
We thank you for your consideration of this very difficult and politically-charged decision. We hope you understand that the Haldane School District will temper the negative implications of these assessments and will use them to your child’s benefit.
Diana Bowers, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
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for more information and updates on the status of the District’s Strategic Planning Process
Haldane Central School District: Important Budget Concepts for Our Tax Payers to Understand
Is the New York State Property Tax Cap Actually a 2% Tax Cap??? No, not really…
When New York State began to limit the amount of revenue a school district could raise in its annual tax levy, the creators of this new law began referring to the tax levy increase as the “2% Tax Cap.” This misnomer unfortunately became the way that most politicians referred to this new regulation, which confused the concept and created a great deal of misunderstanding. So what is the Tax Cap?
This new State mandate requires that school districts complete a long, complicated calculation (that was determined by the Comptroller’s Office) to regulate the amount of taxes a district can raise within their tax levy for the next school year. The district is required to include a number of considerations that vary from year to year. The first detail that districts include in their calculation is the annual change in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) or 2%, whatever is lower. For this upcoming budget cycle, the CPI was 1.62%, so this value was used instead of 2%, because it was the lesser of the two.
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Board of Education Petitions for prospective candidates in 2015 are available in the District Office between 8 am and 4 pm.