Concerns Grow over GASD Test Scores

Amsterdam, NY (August 8,2013) — The New York State Education Department (NYSED) released its standardized test scores and the GASD again ranks near the bottom in local districts in terms of ELA and math performance.

Current board member David Bryant  addressed the test results, “I am concerned with the test scores for our district. We need to take a cold, hard look at the numbers and see what we can do. Maybe we need to focus more efforts on the turf at football field or other capital improvements at the district. I do know the test scores will make it more difficult to deflect criticism from the administration but it is important we stay on course and proceed with administrative salary increases and hopefully extending contracts. Test scores will not fix themselves and it is important that our policies and actions embrace not fixing them.”

Former board president Michelle Cavalle empathizes with the challenges facing the board and the district, “We too struggled with the challenges facing the district in terms of test scores. That is why we embarked on an aggressive approach to slashing programs and costs — we increased class sizes, closed one elementary school and threatened to shutter another, created magnet programs and sold the museum building. All these initiatives were vitally essentially to maximizing test scores and hugely popular I might add. The reason test scores have not improved is that the subsequent boards did not continue the strategy and groundwork we had adopted. It’s a shame class sizes are not even larger and it’s disappointing to see the current board focus on reducing class sizes. At least, they are still embracing the concept of magnet schools. We’re very proud of what we did to deal with test score performance. You’re all very welcome. ”

While concerned parents and residents tried to raise awareness recently of the impact of the school district performance on quality of life in the community, local politicians and community leaders expressed frustration with those efforts, “Look, we don’t have anything to do with the school district. My job is to make sure we can bring taxes down and make sure I represent the people in my ward. I want to bring jobs and lower taxes and economic development. I hear all these comments about resale, home values , tax rates but it’s not something I need to worry about. Those things have nothing to do with taxes and jobs, absolutely nothing. The school district stays out of our business and we stay out of theirs.”

Local administrators would not comment on the story but the issue is expected to be addressed in an executive session at the next board meeting, referred to a comittee and then tabled until the next round of test results are released in 2014.

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