Heard Through the Grapevine
Have you heard something through the grapevine and want the official South Country School District response?
Do you want clarification based on actual facts?
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We will review each question and respond on the South Country School District website or you will receive an e-mail response.
Issues dealing with personnel and privacy will not be posted publicly.
Q - What is the GEA and what does it mean for South Country Schools?
The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) is a formula in the state budget
the reduces the amount of aid each school district is entitled to
receive. New York State introduced the GEA in 2009-10 when it was known
as the Deficit Reduction Assessment in order to partially reduce the
state's $10 billion budget deficit. It was used in 2011-12 to allocate
an unprecedented $2.56 billion statewide cut in aid. Over the past five
years, it has been used to reduce state aid to school districts by
$7.82 billion. South Country's five year impact is a loss of
$25,686,195 and our net loss for the 2015-16 school-year is $2.8
Q - I understand that there was a school called Southaven that was an alternative for students that needed more attention or supervision, but now is no longer available so those students are back in the mainstream of BHS. Could you address how that facility worked and what statistics or data you have that showed this was not a viable or successful option? Why was the decision made to stop this program?
The former South Haven School housed about twenty 9th and 10th grade students who were identified as “academically struggling.” Their program consisted of a minimal abbreviated school day program. There was also a morning suspension program where suspended students in grades 7-12 would attend during their period of suspension.
During the 2013-14 school-year, the Board’s advisory committee on Teaching and Learning examined the South Haven program. They advised the Board to close South Haven and recommended creating an intensive instructional program within the high school for “academically struggling” students. The committee also recommended creating an after-school suspension program at the high school to replace the morning program at South Haven. The Board of Education accepted and approved these recommendations.
The committee did examine data from the former South Haven program that showed students who attended experienced little to no academic growth. More recently, after the first year (2014-15) of the new program within the high school, students who attended demonstrated significantly more growth and achievement.
Q - Are there enough security personnel on hand in general? What is the ratio of security personnel to students and how is it determined what the trouble areas or times are to post security personnel?
Yes, there are enough personnel on hand. During the school day, these individuals are called “Responders” and there are more "Responders" in our schools today than there were three years ago. "Responders" actively assist and work with our students in each school’s “Response to Intervention” initiative. At after-school events, “Security Guards” are used. Since “Responders” and “Security Guards” supervise generally areas, we do not staff based on student ratio, we staff based on need and event as recommended by the principal or administrator in charge.