Written by Rick Karas, firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00
With all the time lost due to Hurricane Sandy, it was inevitable; members of the Farmingdale Board of Education took the superintendent’s recommendation to hold classes on what would have been the balance of winter recess, Feb. 19-22. The decision was made at the recent board meeting held on Dec. 5.
This will allow the district to keep intact the state-mandated 180 days of instruction. This is key because any district that falls under that number loses state aid, in this case, $100,000 a day. This will also allow the district to keep one snow day aside should the need arise in the coming months.
There wasn’t any opposition to that at the meeting, but what was at issue was the elimination of midterm week. Midterm week has been eliminated so that it can be more days of instruction, and to maintain and possibly increase the overall level of academic performance.
“If we stay the same, we lose ground,” said Superintendent John Lorentz. “That’s not to say that every step forward doesn’t come with some risk, sometimes we have to take some steps back, but we have to continue to go forward.”
Suffice to say; several students, and even parents, disagree with the changes.
“Why fix something that’s not broken,” asked senior Chris Olson. “If we’re still scoring high with the system that we’re using, why should we enact a new system where it’s a big change, and possibly a potential downfall?”
Issues raised seem to center on the fact that midterms will now be part of the regular school day, meaning there could be a midterm one period, then class in another subject, followed by yet another midterm.
Students also feel that this will reduce opportunity for teachers to provide extra help for a midterm. Also, exam times will no longer be uniform, so one student may take a test in the morning, while another gets to take the same test in the afternoon. This also raises security issues in terms of finding out what’s on the test in advance.
“So now I’m going to have to go to a full day of school, take a midterm that’s 10 percent of my grade, and participate in all the regular school activities,” said senior Alex Melton.
Louis Bell had three kids go through the Farmingdale School District, and echoed the sentiments of the students in attendance.
“What concerns me is we’re not improving anything, we’re making it newer, like taking a good car, adding things in it you don’t really need...then you charge people more money,” he said.
Also at the meeting, the district was awarded the NYSSMA Presidential Citation, only the 19th district to be honored in such a way since 1984.
“It’s given to districts that act as models for music education programs in New York State,” said NYSSMA president-elect David Gaines. “The district should provide a well-rounded music program at all levels.”
Also honored were the 15 all-state performers from the high school.
A representative from Nawrocki Smith gave the financial audit report, stating that the district has just under $65 million in capital assets, and $45 million in the general fund. The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. at Howitt.