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Thursday, August 21, 2014
'State of the Schools' at Freeport BOE meeting
by Mark treske
photo by Jim Golding
THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES: Members of Freeport High School

The Freeport Board of Education received reports on major financial and academic issues at its October 2 meeting at Atkinson School.

A representative from the firm Cullen and Danowski presented the report for the district’s external audit for 2012-2013. The district audit was done in accordance with American Institute of Certified Public Accountant as well as government standards, and the district received what is called an “unmodified opinion” that is, the audit found the district’s financial records free of material weakness.

The audit found good internal controls (procedures insuring that money is spent properly), and that the law has been complied with in all cases.

According to the representative, the district has a positive fund balance – and the district saw an increase in that fund balance during the year 2012-13 of $212,000. And this in spite of 6% increases in expenditures for employee benefits and medical insurance premiums – increases beyond the district’s control that are expected to continue for the short term. The auditor also complemented the district for completion of the task in a timely manner (the audit wasn’t due until October 15.)

What test results mean – and don’t mean

Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham described the recent, much lamented state assessments as “a new benchmark” – a standard against which future progress will be measured. He then called on Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerard Poole for an explanation.

The common core standards are standards of knowledge developed by the State Board of Regents to prepare students for success in college and the workplace, and the Regents’ Reform Agenda (based in part on the federal “Race to the Top” program) requires the development of assessments and curriculum aligned to these standards. The reform agenda also includes:

• Recruiting, developing and retaining effective teachers and principals.

• Building data systems to track student progress and show teachers and principals how to improves their practice.

• Turning around lower achieving schools.

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