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State considers eliminating January Regents

TRI-COUNTY AREA—The New York State Education Department is telling school districts to prepare for the possible elimination of the January Regents test starting in 2012.
This would leave tests in August and June.  Penn Yan Superintendent Ann Orman said this would cut down the number of chances juniors have at taking the English Regents from four to two.
“I think this would have a huge impact on us,” she added.
This change would also impact districts with block scheduling, or classes that run in the fall or spring only.  However, Penn Yan, Dundee, Hammondsport, Watkins Glen , and Odessa-Montour do not have block scheduling.
Watkins Superintendent Tom Phillips said the state told districts with block scheduling to consider changing to classes that run from September to June.  He added it took many districts years to put that schedule into place and they may now have to change it for the 2011-12 school year.
While the state said it is a possibility, Phillips and Odessa-Montour Superintendent Jim Frame both said the exam will most likely be eliminated. He said he didn’t see why the state would tell districts to prepare for the change if it wasn’t going to happen.
Phillips said this could affect graduation rates as well.  Some students need to wait and take a January Regents to still be counted towards the previous year’s graduating class.
“I’m absolutely convinced the January Regents will go away,” said Hammondsport Superintendent Kyle Bower.  He described it as the “Regents taken advantage of the least.”
He added it wasn’t a major concern for Hammondsport.  Bower explained a few students need to take a January Regents before graduation and to graduate with an Advanced Designation.
Superintendent Kathy Ring also said the impact to Dundee would be small.  She added Dundee offers the English Regents in January and it gives some students the chance to take the exam a second time for a possible better score.
“I think the state is prudent to look at every expectancy and every mandate,” said Ring.
This is not the first time the state considered eliminating the January exam.  The 2010 January Regents was on the chopping block last year.  In June, the state education department said the January test was a possible cut to save $1.4 million.  The state said it was considering this cut, among others, in case the New York budget did not include $7 million for Regents.  The 2010 January Regents was kept, but the state made other cuts in testing. 



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