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Summer aid for students questioned

After hearing questions about its effectiveness, the Depew Board of Education was promised a progress report on the Credit Recovery Program.

Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey told the board Tuesday that he could have some data on the year-old summer program for its September meeting.

The issue arose after the board approved the appointment of teachers for this year's program, to run from July 11 to Aug. 19.

John Spencer, a board member, said he feared that some students are skipping classes during the regular school year knowing they can enroll in the summer Credit Recovery Program. Gabrielle Miller, a parent, echoed those sentiments.

Depew, like many other school districts, offers the free program, which uses online lessons, with teacher assistance, to get at-risk high school students on track for graduation. Participants are referred by school counselors.

Course work in social studies, English language arts, science and math is available through Castle Learning Online, which supports classroom instruction.

The program has been viewed as a tool to achieve the board's goal of increasing the graduation rate to 90 percent from 82 percent by next year.

In other business, the board approved a one-year extension on Rabey's contract to June 2016, as compensation for freezing his salary for 2011-12.

Rabey joined the district in August 2010 with a five-year contract starting at $160,000. His raise next year would have been 1.5 percent, or $2,400.

The board also approved abolishing several positions as of June 30 because of declining enrollment. The half-time teaching positions in health, physical education and music, plus full-time positions in math, social studies and special education, as well as the Middle School assistant principal, were announced during budget deliberations.

It also transferred $2.1 million from the general fund to three reserve funds, a move that Rabey said demonstrates "fiscal responsibility for the future."

The board also informally agreed to meet once, instead of twice, monthly in the new school year, with the exception of additional monthly budget work sessions from February through April.

The meetings would begin at 6:30 p.m., instead of 7.

The board will make a final decision July 12 its reorganization meeting.

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