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Lake Placid schools correct graduation numbers

September 27, 2013

LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid school officials have corrected graduation numbers reported earlier this year.

The school district's rate for its 2008-12 cohort was reported in June as 72.85 percent, but district Superintendent Roger Catania said at Tuesday's school board meeting that it was actually 78.46 percent.

That would still leave Lake Placid with the lowest graduation rate in the Tri-Lakes, with Saranac Lake topping the area at 88.5.

Catania said Tom Dodd and Elisa Begore worked with the numbers and found that four or five students had changed schools before graduation, but the state's data didn't correspond with the district's on those students. Catania said that highlighted to him that the district can't just submit raw numbers to the state but must also usher those numbers through state processes to make sure they are interpreted correctly.

Catania gave school board members a sheet that sorted the students who hadn't graduated into the reasons they hadn't. Two graduated this year, a year late, and four graduated with individual education plan diplomas or the equivalent, which are specialized diplomas for students who can't meet the normal requirements.

"Six of those students, I think we would generally say, are successful," Catania said, referring to those two groups of students.

One transferred to a GED program, four dropped out, one was incarcerated, one was permanently expelled, and one was a new student who transferred into the district for one week and then dropped out, according to the handout.

Board member Herb Stoerr said it was helpful to see that kind of breakdown of information.

Catania said this issue made him realize the district needs more attention on its statistical processing. He asked the school board Tuesday to appoint Begore as an assistant information officer, so she will have the responsibility of compiling then verifying statistics that are submitted to the state.

Stoerr argued against the appointment, saying giving Begore that job would take the responsibility off someone else's shoulders, but other board members agreed with Catania that the state is asking for more data than ever and it would be helpful to have someone making sure it gets the correct information. Catania said he believes problems with statistics in the past could have contributed to Lake Placid being designated a "focus district" by the state due to poor performance in its special education programs.

Stoerr voted against the appointment, but the rest of the board approved it. The position comes with a $2,400 stipend, which the board approved at its last meeting. District Business Manager Leonard Sauers said Tuesday the stipend would end up as a wash with the overtime Begore would have acquired otherwise.



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