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Schools still unsure about state funds

PENN YAN—Uncertainty about state aid remains just days before the school year begins. That fact was outlined by Penn Yan Central School District Assistant Superintendent for Business Doug Tomandl during the Aug. 25 meeting of the district board of education.
Tomandl said the original $1.9 million gap in state aid seems to have been reduced to $716,902. Funds of $541,394 will be available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), but the district still has no guidance on how they can spend it. Tomandl said the budget for the 2010-11 school year was built thinking the district would get $1.2 million after ARRA. He said he is apprehensive about spending because there could be mid year cuts.
Superintendent of Schools Ann Orman said, “It sounds like we’re getting a lot of money, but we’re not. We are not getting rural schools funds this year.” The district received  $45,000 in rural schools funds last year.
In other business: The board heard a report on test assessments for the 2009-10 school year from Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Staff Development Howard Dennis. He outlined test results for grade levels. While some subjects at the high school level had 100 percent passing, math results were disappointing. Dennis said,  “This is something we’re focusing on. We hope to see some gains in the near future.”
Board member Mike VanWormer said he is concerned about the math scores because the district was ranked close to the bottom in that subject. He expressed concern that students who are behind. in elementary school will have difficulty the rest of their school years. Elementary principal Ed Bronson said some math interventions are planned for the elementary schools. Providing help inside and outside the classroom during the school day may be used as well as a new computer program just on math facts. Parents will be encouraged to work with students on math facts. Bronson said, “We want the kids to recognize math facts as quickly as sight words. The biggest basic is knowing math facts.”



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