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District does well in national rankings

The Iroquois Central School District earned high marks on a national level for its overall performance, climbing up the rankings of several nationwide publications.

Newsweek magazine placed the district in its 1,000 best schools in the country, ranking it fourth of the five it deemed best in Western New York, while U.S. News & World Report gave the high school National Gold status, ranking it in the top 1.7 percent nationally and fifth-highest in the area.

Superintendent Douglas R. Scofield noted the achievement at this week's School Board meeting, while offering his praise to multiple sources. "It's due to the increased focus of the community, teachers, students and administrators in putting education first. The district as a whole is reinvigorated," Scofield said.

In recent months, the community, board members and staff have hailed Scofield as the reason for the district's turnaround and for ushering in an era of transparency and improved morale.

Just two years ago, the district was steeped in rumors after the sudden departure of three administrators, followed days later by the abrupt resignation of Neil A. Rochelle, a controversial superintendent.

In other matters, Scofield told the board Wednesday night that the budget vote May 15 was "the greatest budget vote ever" because turnout was the highest ever. He credited the volume to community volunteers, who he said helped increase the turnout.

About 3,000 ballots were cast this year, compared with 1,700 last year, when the budget was defeated by 100 votes, forcing the district to adopt a contingency plan. This year, the budget was approved by more than 800 votes.

Scofield raised the ante for 2013, saying he would like to see an additional 500 voters.

In School Board action, a revised code of conduct was approved for the district, with changes reflecting the Dignity for Students Act, taking effect in July.

Scofield said the revised code also broadens the definition of electronic devices to encompass all new technology. It further specifies that students may not use such items to "invade the privacy of students, employees, volunteers and visitors" and states that cyberbullying is subject to discipline.