News – January 26, 2009

Petri Seeks To Change NCLB Testing Requirements

1/26/09 – Congressman Tom Petri is sponsoring a bill that would provide more accurate tests for elementary and middle school students. The bill, known as the Assessment Accuracy and Improvement Act, would allow states to use “adaptive” tests to fulfill their No Child Left Behind testing requirements. Currently, under the federal program, each state is required to test students in grades three through eight. Each state has its own tests, which must be approved by the Education Department. The tests are often done on paper and are identical for every student within the same grade in any given state. The Republican from Fond du Lac wants the Education Department to allow states to fulfill their federal testing requirement by using “adaptive” testing. Adaptive tests change the difficulty of questions based on the skill level of the student. Even though adaptive tests do not satisfy NCLB requirements, Petri says school districts nationally, and nearly a third of schools in his congressional district, are spending resources to use the tests because they provide information that the federally mandated assessment do not. We’ll talk with Petri more about this issue and others this Thursday when he is our guest on WBEV’s Community Comment program.

Dodgeland School Board Begins New Supt Search

1/26/09 – The Dodgeland School Board will meet tonight to discuss the search for a new Superintendent. That’s after Ronald Vaughn requested an administrative leave of absence that will end with his resignation June 30, the same day his 2-year contract with the district ends. Officials are not saying why Vaughn is leaving, but the agenda for recent closed session meetings state the board was discussing allegations of harassment. Al Rosenthal is currently running the school district. He is a partner with Fox River Consultants and has previously served as an interim Superintendent while his firm was involved in the process of hiring Dodgeland’s last two superintendents.

Referendum Unlikely in Horicon Despite Deficit

1/26/09 – The Superintendent of the Horicon School District says he’s not sure the community would be ready, willing or able to support a referendum. Horicon is looking at a $600,000 deficit next year. Superintendent Gary Berger says when it comes to curriculum offerings that should be continued or added, a referendum would be the logical approach but realistically the district needs to look at whether the community can afford it. Proposed cuts would primarily target staff, resulting in an increase in class size.

Fox Lake Group To Meet on Potential School Closings

1/26/09 – Members of a group trying to save Fox Lake and Alto Elementary Schools from being closed say the Waupun school board will vote on their closing even if a referendum passes. Kim Derleth says the school board already has a vote scheduled in a special meeting on Monday, February 23. She says there are other alternatives to consider like moving the 8th graders into the Waupun High School, filling the Middle School and closing Jefferson and Washington Elementary Schools. The group will meet tonight at Fox Lake City Hall at 6:30pm.

Red Kettle Campaign Collects $30K

1/26/09 – The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign in Beaver Dam brought in $2000 more than last year. The Noon Kiwanis Club of Beaver Dam coordinated the effort and the groups Karl Nienhuis says bell-ringers raised over $30,000. All of the money goes to the Salvation Army and 86% stays in Dodge County.