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SUPERINTENDENT FEARS AID CAP MAY HURT PROGRAMS

School Superintendent Terry Dolan is brimming with pride over a three-year academic turnaround as reflected in recent performance testing results.

But he's hopping mad that the State Legislature's cap on state aid may hurt the very programs responsible for the climbing scores.

Dolan said Friday that with lawmakers' attention turned toward the recent terrorist attacks, he has almost given up hope that the Legislature will make good on assurances that the cap on aid will be lifted. The district will need to trim about $250,000 in expenses to make up for the missing aid revenues that were budgeted for 2001-02, he said.

"It's a casualty of war. I understand that's the way to look at it. But where I live, Franklinville Central is the most important . . . We could have adjusted the tax levy and spending plan (in August). We could have made those moves but they didn't tell us," Dolan said.

He has received the go-ahead from the Board of Education to make a series of cost-cutting recommendations, such as converting back to classroom one of two distance learning rooms in the elementary school to save phone and utility costs. Dolan said he has already ordered staff to lowering the thermostat and use less paper and other supplies. Football games will be scheduled during daylight hours whenever possible, and staff will take home their personal refrigerators and microwaves.

"If it saves $10,000, that's $10,000 more in equipment and supplies," he said.

Dolan also told board members he wants to negotiate maintenance contracts or put money into a capital fund for in-house service of computerized heating and air conditioning units installed in the past five years. He asked to postpone signature of one such performance contract now due that would pay Siemens $18,000 annually, and increase to $21,000 in five years.

In another matter, he credited teachers and the curriculum with some success in statewide testing results, reported to the board during a Wednesday night meeting.

Over a three-year period, both fourth- and eighth-grade students achieved higher performance levels in statewide English and math testing. Also, students averaged higher scores after taking summer school Regents tests, and achievement scores for Students with Disabilities saw improvements at both the fourth- and eighth-grade levels for English and math during the three-year period.

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