District seeks data on Middle School

Gwen Chamberlain

One of the major issues the committee that’s looking at the future configuration of grade levels in the Penn Yan Central School District faces is this: What is the best use of the middle school building?

To make a decision, the committee needs information. At its regular meeting last week, the board of education agreed to spend $3,000 on a contract with Keuka Appraisal Services for an appraisal of the building as a capital asset.

Superintendent David Hamilton says no decisions have been made about the building’s future, despite concerns in the community that a determination has been made that it will be closed.

“Nothing has been decided,” he said after the Oct. 5 meeting.

Hamilton says the board and administration will be holding a public budget planning forum at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 in the academy library. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting to offer input on the upcoming budget process, including the grade level configuration.

Hamilton said during the public forums held earlier this year for the 2011-2012 budget,  members of the public made it clear that they would like contribute to the budget planning earlier in the process. He said holding this meeting in November is an effort to get public input early in the process.

Other business at the Oct. 5 board of education meeting included:

• TEST SCORES: Principals from the three school buildings reviewed standardized test scores with the board.

The best results in ELA testing in the elementary level were in the fourth grade, where 62 of the 98 students tested passed the exam. Penn Yan students ranked eighth in the 25 districts in the BOCES region.

The best results in elementary math also came from the fourth grade students, with 71 of the 97 students tested passing.

The best results in middle school ELA testing  came from the sixth grade, with 103 of 146 students passing, ranking the class sixth among the 25 districts in the BOCES region.

The best results in middle school math also came from the sixth grade students, with 109 of the 145 students tested passing, ranking the class third among BOCES districts.

Middle School Principal Rebecca Perrault also noted the science performance index “is not going in the direction we want it to.”

Academy Principal David Pullen reported that he is pleased with most of the results, which included: Global studies, 85 percent passing; U.S. history: 99 percent passing; biology, 97 percent passing; earth science, 84 percent passing; physics, 93 percent passing; ELA 93 percent passing; algebra 92 percent passing; geometry, 98 percent passing and French 96 percent passing.

Academy students were ranked #1 in the BOCES districts for U.S. history and geometry, #5 for physics and ELA and #6 for biology.

The academy’s weak spot was in chemistry, with a 68 percent passing. “There’s a lot of work to do there,” said Pullen.

• REPORTS: Middle School Counselor Jerry Rutherford reported on activities of the Leo Club and Steve Bloom, HUBBA advisor, reported on the group’s plans for activities for the year. He said each grade level will take care of a portion of the Keuka Outlet Trail. Plans call for picnic tables, benches and historic markers to be created by students.

•AUDIT: A representative from Bonadio & Co. reported on the findings of the school district audit. He said there were no issues of note.