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Parents question class rankings

The parent of an Amherst Central School District student notified the School Board on Tuesday that he and other parents plan to file a legal challenge to the district's class rankings.

Albert Gilewicz, the father of a senior at Amherst High School, presented Superintendent Laura Chabe with three requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act, asking the district to document its class-ranking policy.

The issue involves ranking students who complete their studies in three years with the graduating senior class.

Ranking these students as seniors could affect the selection of valedictorian and salutatorian, and might have an impact on college acceptance, the parents contend.

Despite previous requests, Gilewicz said, the district has failed to provide documentation of the class-ranking policy. He branded the practice "a terrible injustice" to graduating seniors and said it skews class rankings.

"I have to question whether the delay and the lack of information is a deliberate attempt to stop us from filing an appeal," Gilewicz said.

School Board President William Blanford, who said the board has been cooperating with Gilewicz and other parents, conceded the possibility of ambiguity in the district's policy.

"We probably have some policy documents to tighten up," Blanford said. "Our practice, for at least the past 10 years, has been that anytime a student is on track to graduate in three years instead of the customary four, [he or she is] included with the cohort of kids who are scheduled to graduate in June."

Gilewicz asked the board to respond to the three requests for information by Friday.

Blanford said he "saw no reason why the board would not comply" with that request.

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