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Holyoke to pursue application under Innovation Schools Act PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

During the five-hour school board retreat that followed the short board meeting last Tuesday, June 17, the Re-1J board reviewed a proposal from Superintendent Bret Miles on the Rural Agility Project.

Miles was asked to follow through with an application pursuing the utilization of the Innovation Schools Act.

After reviewing alternatives, the board felt the innovation schools route was more desirable than the charter school or waiver options.

Holyoke’s application will focus on how the school can better meet the needs of students by opting out of two laws: early literacy assessments (TS Gold) and the new teacher evaluation process.

The district believes these laws are intended to solve problems that Holyoke doesn’t have, and the local community can meet the needs of students without them.

Next steps include more work with the Department of Education on the application and then engaging teachers when school starts up this fall.

Discussion continued about an election this November to extend the mill levy, which is set to sunset in 2015. The board agreed to place this on an agenda at an upcoming meeting as an action item. The next board meeting is scheduled Tuesday, July 8, at 8 p.m.

Recognizing the need to improve salary schedules should money be available was another retreat topic. This could be considered if the mill levy override is continued and if the Legislature continues to reduce the negative factor the district has incurred.

There’s a formula in the state statutes and constitution that stipulates a certain dollar figure for funding for each school district. For four years, the Legislature has said it doesn’t have the money to fund this.

The difference between the funding a school district was supposed to receive, by statute, and what it actually received is called its negative factor.

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Holyoke Enterprise June 26, 2014