Hannibal planning board tables vote on gravel mine

By Matthew Reitz

The Town of Hannibal Planning Board on Thursday tabled its vote on a special use permit for the proposed gravel mine on Harris Hill Road, allowing itself more time to reach a decision on the contested proposal.

A standing-room-only crowd gathered at the Hannibal Town Hall and voiced concerns with the proposed site, and on gravel mining in Hannibal, in general. In addition to the Harris Hill Road mine, the board also held a public hearing on a permit modification for the existing Wheats Pit on Engles Road.

The hearing drew so many speakers that residents were allotted only one minute to address the board and the hearings were limited to 30 minutes each. Residents used the time mostly to express concerns about safety, wear and tear on town roads, and the effects of mining on the town.

Dan Hoffman, permit applicant for the Harris Hill Road mine, was given a chance to make a statement at the beginning of the public session. He told the board the project followed all the rules.

“The permits are done,” Hoffman said in reference to a DEC permit.

Town of Granby Supervisor Ed Williamson attended the meeting and expressed concern about the mine’s potential to cause traffic issues on Granby roads. Williamson asked the planning board to stipulate that the trucks leaving the mine do not travel on the section of Harris Hill Road that runs through Granby.

Williamson said the intersection at Harris Hill Road and county Route 8 is a “death trap” coming over the hill and that “many accidents and some deaths” had occurred at that spot in the past. Williamson also requested the planning board amend the hours of operation at the mine to avoid school bus traffic.

“I think you should maybe look at your hours of operation and maybe change the times,” Williamson said.

Granby Town Councilor Lori Blackburn, who also attended the hearing, reiterated Williamson’s interest in keeping truck traffic away from the intersection.

There were several Hannibal residents who also expressed concern about bus traffic and the intersection of Harris Hill Road and county Route 8.

Kelly LaRock, the owner of a neighboring property and a vocal opponent of the mine, said the planning board needed to follow Hannibal zoning laws.

“The Town of Hannibal has enacted zoning laws,” LaRock said. “We are here tonight to make sure these laws are followed.”

LaRock said the planning board did not have to approve a special use permit just because the project was approved by the DEC.

“The special use permit can only be issued after all the standards and conditions have been met,” LaRock said. “We have spent six months providing documentation to this planning board that supports the fact that those conditions have not been met.”

Hannibal resident Tim Harmon said the mine would go against the town’s comprehensive plan. He urged the board to pay attention to that. Harmon also said a mine would hurt the town’s chances of attracting new residents.

“We have an amazing little community here,” Harmon said. “People don’t want to live next to a mine.”

Highway Superintendent Dan Mahaney cautioned the planning board to consider the routes the trucks would be allowed to travel.

“The planning board should be very conscious about where these trucks can go,” Mahaney said.

Mahaney said the town could put restrictions on the permit to direct traffic toward more suitable county roads. He said the town roads weren’t made for the heavy truck traffic.

The planning board discussed how the town would enforce any restrictions the board put on the mine. Hannibal Town Board member George Ritchie said the town’s code enforcement officer would follow up on complaints against the mine, but he couldn’t drive up and down the road to police the mine.

The planning board could not get the four-person majority it needed to bring the matter to a vote Thursday. Planning Board Chairman G. Robert Dilts said the board has 62 days to take action on the permit. It can use that time to review new information and consider the public comments.

The board could take action on the permit at its next meeting on July 2, or again delay a vote until August 6. However, town officials said there will not be any more public comments taken concerning the Harris Hill Road mine.

A public hearing regarding Wheats Pit on Engles Road was much quieter, although some residents still spoke out against mining in the town. The Wheats Pit application was a modification of an existing permit. Dilts explained that it was “an odd situation” where one gravel pit backed up against another. The application calls to mine out the area between the mines.

The planning board unanimously approved the Wheat’s Pit modification. The board placed a restriction on the mine to operate 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The applicant also agreed to meet with the town highway superintendent once per month, and to install a stop sign at the end of the haul road where it enters Engles Road. The permit will expire in October.

Barclay honors local cancer survivors with proclamation


By Matthew Reitz

Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, toured the Oswego County Cancer Services Program facilities in Fulton on Friday as part of an effort to recognize cancer survivors.

Barclay was one of several state Assembly members to sponsor a resolution proclaiming June 7 “Cancer Survivors Day” in New York state.

Barclay toured the facility with several employees, discussing funding efforts and services provided to help combat cancer in Oswego County. While presenting a copy of the resolution to the program’s coordinators, Barclay stressed the importance of recognizing cancer survivors and keeping the disease in the spotlight in order to eradicate it.

“We all want to recognize cancer survivors,” Barclay said. “Cancer, as you all know, is a huge illness and the leading cause of death in the United States. I think the more recognition you can give to it will help save lives.”

Barclay thanked the program’s coordinators and offered his continuing support.

The Cancer Services Program of Oswego County provides free cancer screenings for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer for people that are uninsured and meet certain age requirements.

Group looking to finally make skate park a reality in Fulton

By Diana Cook

It wasn’t that many years ago that Joe Arnold — now a young adult — learned what it was like to want active opportunities for fun. He grew up in a time when riding skateboards and BMX bikes bolstered interest for outdoor recreation in a big way. It could be a challenge to find practice venues for such activities but, also true to teen form, he and his friends just rode wherever they could. They also started looking for a chance to bring a skate park to Fulton but like in any proposed construction project, there were hurdles to jump, and a process that required more than just hopes and dreams.

Now that Arnold is an adult, working as part of a drop-in program for youth in Fulton, while facing the challenge of keeping community youth engaged, he also found a revitalization of interest and support for that skate park idea.

Recognizing that there were just not a lot of places to go for structured safe activity near neighborhoods where they live, it was when kids started talking about what they’d love to be doing, and included the possibility of a skate park for bikes, skateboards and scooter recreation, that Arnold rediscovered and renewed a project he could get behind – hoping somehow to help make it happen. After all, he knew himself that, with some of the closest skate parks being dozens of miles away, getting there for the fun was hard.

“When you have to drive to get places, it can really limit the possibilities,” Arnold says.

After revisiting the idea through Fulton’s parks department, responsible for the care and maintenance of infrastructure around town, a connection was formed with the group that really takes on the burden of making recreation happen in Fulton — Friends of Fulton Parks, and Kelly Weaver, it’s current president.

Friends of Fulton Parks, a 501c3 non-profit organization, has one basic mission, says Weaver, when asked about their role in trying to move thing forward for the community. The mission is “to bring play back to the parks and to collaborate with community groups and city parks to make that happen,” she explains.

The fact is that their existence really fills an essential function for any project in the local parks. To explain, Barry Ostrander of the Parks and Recreation department in Fulton is very clear on both reality and appreciation. The fact is that when finances get tough, “the first thing that goes is recreation,” Ostrander says. The city has to focus priorities on water, fire, police, roads, basic grounds maintenance and other necessary infrastructure.

“It doesn’t leave much leftover for recreational investment and we just don’t have any funding available to sustain or develop park infrastructure,” he said.

That reality can make for an ongoing challenge, “especially since providing those recreational activities can be the most important part of a community,” said Ostrander. “It deals with quality of life.”

It’s for that reason that, whenever possible, the parks department partners with FOFP to support possible projects and work to support funding.

“Friends of Fulton Parks has done a lot for my department,” Ostrander says, “Securing money or getting people involved has been instrumental for areas that sorely lack.”

It was the FOFP connection that began the process of help for reinvigorating a focus on the skate park idea in the Van Buren Park, which was planned to be placed behind the tennis courts. It was a project that had begun a number of years prior and then stalled with economic downturn after the installation of a 100-foot cement slab – a foundation put down with intention of building a skate park so many years before.

“So we are now helping this group get through the process,” said Weaver, pointing out that all projects have to get approvals, seek funding and develop plans, along with meeting any other city or grant requirements before construction occurs.

They found out, “it was already zoned for a skate park,” said Weaver. “We got some of those same people involved from before and got permission to go forward.”

Citing that it was a space once used for Youth Soccer, Ostrander confirmed that the park had fallen by the wayside and it became no longer usable for field sports. When approached those multiple years ago, the skate park idea was on track with hopes to acquire skateboard equipment needed, but it never got that far.

“We’d been kicking the idea around for a while,” says Ostrander. So when this new group of youth and young adults came forward looking to jumpstart a journey towards completion, “we didn’t come across any resistance,” he said. “It has the blessing of the council”.

After running the renewed concept by the Recreation committee, Weaver and FOFP began to search to seek out appropriate grants and Weaver found some possible avenues for funding through the Tony Hawk Foundation. As with any grant, however, there are steps to be taken in preparation for application. Most basically, they “have to show interest and need … they must show that it is in fact a need,” Ostrander added.

Arnold has been keyed into that community interest for quite a while, and now sees even more interest and need from his vantage point with kids after school. He points out that there is a bike shop in Fulton, but little place for kids to ride bikes and scooters. And there are always kids on skateboards.

“It would definitely be a benefit to the businesses and other locations where kids spontaneously go. This would be a lot better. It would help them to not have kids skating around their places, and be safer for kids, too,” Arnold says. “A lot of people want to support it. Not just friends of the parks but tons of kids.”

To show the interest and need required to move things forward again, the loosely organized group of young people — with Arnold at the lead — are working on collecting as many signatures of support as possible on a petition.

“We are polling community support through a petition to apply for the grant,” Weaver said. “A proposal for the design is being worked on. Some people will be against it, but there are many people willing to support it and put out the effort to make it happen.”

She explained that, for some reason, “there is a bad perception of skateboards.” Because of that, Weaver says, “they may need to prove themselves a little, not only get out there and tell people about it and why they want it, but show that they are willing to work for it.”

With a youth group involved, it’s a real opportunity to engage their commitment in truly active ways. Weaver suggested they do an event to support the parks, and through the parks department they happened to have a vehicle for that as well. “Sparkle-a-Park” is something organized for Earth Month and encourages community residents, organizations for youth to get involved, to come out to the parks, pick up leaves, sticks, litter, and beautify the parks in preparation for the emerging summer season.

“It’s a perfect opportunity,” Weaver said, for the kids to “ help do the work that’s needed”.

It also provides a chance to make “Sparkle-a-Park” even more of an event in this case, drawing in support for the skate park and doing good work in the process. To further their cause, the skate park group got permission from the parks department to bring a couple of ramps out to the Van Buren Park site on the weekend of May 16 and May 17, for demonstration and to show how their ““Sparkle-a-Park” service enhances the experience and shows their true commitment to providing something for the community.

“Help for this initiative – cleaning up the parks – is a great benefit for my small crew,” Ostrander said, explaining “Sparkle-a-Park” focuses on a different Fulton park each week this time of year. With community, social service and other groups pitching in to rake leaves and get litter out of the way, he is thrilled that the parks department can focus on their schedule to start to maintain mowing and prepping the parks throughout.

In addition to helping out with Van Buren Park clean-up, as the group of youth and skate park supporters tried to come up with specific design plans. Their group was also encouraged to investigate possible skate park structure options. Some of them visited a skate park in Liverpool at Onondaga Lake park, and “they gained a benefit from the experience,” Weaver said. “It gets them to think about it … what do they like, what don’t they like, what would they do different?”

With several years of thought behind his interest, Arnold has pretty specific ideas – one being that the skate park “needs to have the capability to accommodate skateboards, scooters and bikes,” he said. He feels leaving one group out might lead to problems or controversy.

“And we really want it to be a solution for everyone’s interest,” he added.

He also pointed out that there are choices to be made. A concrete skate park “is more expensive, but it wouldn’t deteriorate so quick,” he explained. They could also focus on a design using a wooden structure.

“That’s easier to build and work on, but they definitely deteriorate quicker and the long term costs are higher,” Arnold said.

“Ultimately, we want it to be safe,” said Weaver. “We’re still at the beginning stages, but we want to achieve what was intended.”

From an overall perspective, Weaver finds herself just as delighted as those at the grass roots of the skate park concept.

“It’s a positive thing they are trying to do,” Weaver said, reinforcing the group’s ideals. “Joe Arnold is in it for the right reasons. It’s about the fact that the kids need something – he’s thinking, ‘I used to be a skater. I can help with this’ — and he’s there trying to get it going again,” she said.

Citing that about 99 percent of those who hear about it are behind it, Weaver wants to support those efforts, and be among those helping to provide one more recreational opportunity for Fulton.

“That’s what Friends of Fulton Parks is here to do … raising funds, putting in new things, and encouraging people to come to the parks,” said Weaver. “People like it once they are there, but they don’t always think of it, so they need things to do to encourage them to get out there and go. Our role is to open those doors for the opportunity to do things people like to do anyway. We do our best to build bridges.”

As for Arnold, he knows there is still work to be done, but is happy that things are moving along, mostly for the kids. Almost every day now, when he meets with kids after school, “they ask about it. They ask ‘are we going to have a place?’ It’s good to see them excited about something – and willing to do what they can to make it happen,” he said.

Off Broadway Dance Center recital this weekend

Off Broadway Dance Center will present its 17th annual spring recital “SHINE!” on Friday June 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 7th at 3 p.m.  More than 160 students will take to the stage to perform dances in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical.  Tickets are available at the door.  The OBDC Competition Team will present a free showcase of their award winning dances on Saturday, June 6 at 1 p.m. Ellen Russell Marshall is Off Broadway Dance Center’s Director. The recital is sponsored by Quirk’s Players.

Fulton Athletic Boosters give senior awards

Staff Report

Three-sport standouts Erica Pawlewicz and Chris Jones on Tuesday received the Dan McGinnis Senior Athlete of the Year Awards, highlighting the Fulton Athletic Boosters’ Senior Athletes Recognition Banquet at The Oasis at Thunder Island.
Pawlewicz has starred in volleyball, indoor track, and outdoor track for the Red Raiders.
She earned first-team all-league honors in volleyball, broke school records in the long jump and 200-meter dash during the indoor track season, and currently ranks among the Section III leaders in the long jump for the outdoor track season.
Jones was a star wide receiver and linebacker for the Fulton football team, earning first-team all-league honors and second-team All-CNY recognition. He made the all-league second team in basketball, and completed on the baseball team this spring.
Several awards and scholarships were presented during the evening, set up by the boosters to honor all of Fulton’s senior student-athletes.
Cheryl Wallace Vilardo, a 1996 graduate of G. Ray Bodley High School and a former Raider student-athlete, was the guest speaker. She lettered in soccer, basketball, and softball at Fulton. She overcame tearing both ACLs during high school and was named to all-league teams in soccer and softball.
Vilardo went on to play soccer at William Smith College and helped her team qualify for the NCAA Division III Tournament four years in a row. The team finished second in the nation in her sophomore year. She was named to the All-American and Academic All-America teams.
Currently an assistant principal at East Syracuse-Minoa High School, Vilardo had some words of wisdom for the Red Raider seniors. She said that sports are fun, build character, teach you to work hard, and teach you to persevere.
“They’ve guided me all along, and they still do,” she said, noting she is active in running, bowling, golfing, and other sports.
She referenced her torn ACLs and pointed out that life will pose challenges to everyone. “What matters is how you respond to those challenges,” she said.
She closed by saying that Fulton is “an amazing place” that provides its students with great opportunities and support.
“Why do communities support sports? Because sports make people better,” she said.
Following is a list of awards presented at the ceremony.
Judy & David Trepasso Fan of the Year: Bev & Henry Hudson.
Fulton Athletic Booster Lifetime Membership Award: Mike Phillips.
Outstanding Athletic Performance: Kendra Tryniski.
Section III Championship Awards: Fulton’s wrestling and boys bowling teams.
Dale Tombs Baseball Award: Jon Cummins.
Barney Naioti Leadership Award: Cheyenne Laun, Bailey Lutz.
Joe Castiglia Effort Award: Kendra Tryniski, Shawn Walberger.
Gene Adams Most Improved: Madden Rowlee, Geoff Michaels.
Sox Stuber Sportsmanship Award: Kara Bricker, Emma Harvey, Jon Cummins.
Dan McGinnis Senior Athlete of the Year: Erica Pawlewicz, Chris Jones.
Rick Luciano Football Scholarship: David Hursh.
Shirley Chalifoux Scholarship: Courtney Smith, Brian Hudson.
Danielle Rae Kunzwiler Guistina Scholarship: Grace Trepasso.
Brian Dodge Scholarship: Erica Pawlewicz, Bailey Lutz.
Margaret Beckwith Scholarship: Erica Pawlewicz.
Carl Barton Scholarship: Bailey Lutz.

Dale Tombs Baseball Award winner Jon Cummins pictured with Coach Kip Harvey
Dale Tombs Baseball Award winner Jon Cummins pictured with Coach Kip Harvey
The Judy and Dave Trepasso Fan of the Year Award was presented to Henry and Bev Hudson. Also pictured are Judy and Dave's children, Sandy Strauss and Tom Trepasso
The Judy and Dave Trepasso Fan of the Year Award was presented to Henry and Bev Hudson. Also pictured are Judy and Dave’s children, Sandy Strauss and Tom Trepasso


Representing the Fulton Varsity Wrestling Team are Dakota Diezel and Matthew Marshall. The team was honored for winning the Section III Championship Title 
Representing the Fulton Varsity Wrestling Team are Dakota Diezel and Matthew Marshall. The team was honored for winning the Section III Championship Title
Fulton Athletic Booster Lifetime Membership Award presented to Mike Phillips. Also pictured are Sandy Strauss and Tom Trepasso
Fulton Athletic Booster Lifetime Membership Award presented to Mike Phillips. Also pictured are Sandy Strauss and Tom Trepasso
Outstanding Athletic Performance winner Kendra Tryniski pictured with her dad and coach, Mike Tryniski
Outstanding Athletic Performance winner Kendra Tryniski pictured with her dad and coach, Mike Tryniski
Shawn Walberger represented the Fulton Varsity Bowling Team, recognized for their Section II Title
Shawn Walberger represented the Fulton Varsity Bowling Team, recognized for their Section II Title
Barney Naioti Leadership Award winners Cheyenne Laun and Bailey Lutz
Barney Naioti Leadership Award winners Cheyenne Laun and Bailey Lutz
Joe Castiglia Effort Award winners Kendra Tryniski and Shawn Walberger
Joe Castiglia Effort Award winners Kendra Tryniski and Shawn Walberger
Joe Castiglia Effort Award winners Kendra Tryniski and Shawn Walberger
Joe Castiglia Effort Award winners Kendra Tryniski and Shawn Walberger
Gene Adams Most Improved Award winners Madden Rowlee and Geoffry Michaels
Gene Adams Most Improved Award winners Madden Rowlee and Geoffry Michaels
Sox Stuber Sportsmanship Award winners Emma Harvey, Jon Cummins and Kara Bricker
Sox Stuber Sportsmanship Award winners Emma Harvey, Jon Cummins and Kara Bricker
Dan McGinnis Senior Athlete of the Year Award winners Erica Pawlewicz and Chris Jones
Dan McGinnis Senior Athlete of the Year Award winners Erica Pawlewicz and Chris Jones
Rick Luciano Football Award winner David Hursh. Pictured surrounding him, from left, are Jim Lalik, David Johnson, Doug Kinney, Mark Pollock and Brett Tallents
Rick Luciano Football Award winner David Hursh. Pictured surrounding him, from left, are Jim Lalik, David Johnson, Doug Kinney, Mark Pollock and Brett Tallents
Shirley Chalifioux Scholarship winners Courtney Smith and Brian Hudson
Shirley Chalifioux Scholarship winners Courtney Smith and Brian Hudson
Danielle Rae Kunzwiler Guistina Scholarship winner Grace Trepasso pictured with Jessica Murray
Danielle Rae Kunzwiler Guistina Scholarship winner Grace Trepasso pictured with Jessica Murray
Brian Dodge Scholarship winners Erica Pawlewicz and Bailey Lutz pictured with Brian's wife, Carol Dodge.
Brian Dodge Scholarship winners Erica Pawlewicz and Bailey Lutz pictured with Brian’s wife, Carol Dodge.
Carl Barton Scholarship winner Bailey Lutz
Carl Barton Scholarship winner Bailey Lutz
Margaret Beckwith Scholarship winner Erica Pawlewicz pictured with Margaret's son, George.
Margaret Beckwith Scholarship winner Erica Pawlewicz pictured with Margaret’s son, George.

Hearing for proposed gravel mine in Hannibal Thursday

By Matthew Reitz

The Town of Hannibal Planning Board will meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. to hear additional public comments on a proposed gravel mine on Harris Hill Road.

Earlier this year, the Hannibal Town Board held a public hearing regarding the proposed mine, but took no action because the DEC had yet to approve the project.

The DEC has since ruled the project would “not have a significant effect on the environment” and issued a permit to C.J. Ferlito Aggregates on May 7. Now, the planning board must decide whether it will issue a special use permit or reject the proposed mine.

Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf said he couldn’t say if he was for or against the mine, but said it would be an “interesting meeting” on June 4.

“The town basically has to either accept it, or reject it,” Greenleaf said, “and they have to have a good reason to reject it.”

Greenleaf said the planning board can establish stipulations for the site, such as the hours of operation or limiting the number of trucks coming to and from the mine. He said if there were concerns about dust or noise, the planning board could place conditions within the permit to address those issues, as well. The stipulations must be put in place prior to the issuance of a permit, according to Greenleaf.

“You can’t go in after the fact. You have to set it right out front,” Greenleaf said.

Residents from both Hannibal and Granby have voiced concerns over the proposed mine amid ongoing complaints about a similar mining operation on county Route 85 in Granby. Residents living in the vicinity of that mine have made several complaints to the Granby Town Board over what they call excessive dust, noise and unenforced hours of operation — all of which they say violate that mine’s permit conditions.

Duane Shepard, a resident of the Village of Hannibal, said the town will have to address these issues.

“Eventually we are going to have to deal with the problems,” Shepard said in reference to the traffic, dust and noise concerns that residents have raised.

Shepard also wondered what the town stands to gain by issuing a permit.

“If we’re not making anything (in taxes), why would we want them to keep coming in here and opening these pits up?” Shepard asked.

Kelly LaRock, a resident of Hannibal and neighbor to the proposed mine, recently visited a town board meeting in Granby to urge residents there to attend the June 4 meeting in Hannibal and share their experiences.

Harris Hill Road goes through the town of Granby, and the proposed mine’s location is in close proximity to the Granby town line. LaRock said the mine would have an impact on the lives of Granby residents, too.

“Harris Hill Road goes through the town of Granby, and everybody on that road will be affected should this be approved,” LaRock said.

LaRock said there are several towns in New York state that have successfully argued against a DEC permit. She said the issuance of a DEC permit “does not demand that the towns grant special use permits” for projects they aren’t in favor of.

“A special use permit is not an entitlement to a mining company. It must be approved by town boards, and towns can take the initiative not to grant these special use permits,” LaRock said. “When you get a DEC permit that does not mean you are entitled to tear up the town.”

LaRock said local zoning laws were in place for issues like the proposed mine and asked the planning board to follow the laws.

“We’re just asking them to do the right thing and follow the laws. I don’t know if they’re going to or not,” LaRock said.

District officials discuss changes to comprehensive education plan

By Matthew Reitz

Officials in the Fulton City School District discussed changes to the Comprehensive District Education Plan  last week with a focus on closing achievement gaps.

FCSD Director of Instruction and Development Elizabeth Conners presented the adjusted plan to the school board last Tuesday.

The changes to the CDEP are geared toward utilizing data and monitoring district processes to help reach a number of goals and objectives. The CDEP aims to close achievement gaps that persist among economically disadvantaged students and those with disabilities. Conners told the board the process was lengthy, but informative.

“It gives us a chance to really look at our data and look at where we are going,” Conners said.

Conners said the main academic goal for the district was to achieve a 5 percent annual increase in rates of proficiency and college and career readiness.

“Goal number one is to increase college and career readiness,” Conners said. “That’s the same, it has not changed.”

The district also hopes to have 80 percent of students consistently meeting behavior expectations, and to engage all families in the education of their students. Conners said the CDEP changed “a bit” with regard to engaging families.

“It’s not about just communicating anymore, but how do we really engage people,” Conners said.

The importance of community engagement with economically disadvantaged students and their families will be a main focus. The district will continue to try to increase the participation of all families, but measuring that will be a new challenge.

“We don’t really have any concrete data that shows what is working and what isn’t,” Conners said.

The first step is for the district to establish baseline levels of participation and set measurable goals. The district previously trained teachers in data driven inquiry, and the changes to the CDEP will put that training into practice, Conners said. The new approach will help monitor the progress of all students and subgroups toward district goals, and in turn help the district identify ways to close its achievement gaps.

Dan Carroll, the district’s director of instructional support services, told the board the three-year plan would help the district address its most critical educational needs. He presented data concerning the district’s achievement gaps to the board.

Carroll said the district does not have major gaps in achievement across racial or ethnic lines, but does see gaps among students with disabilities and economic disadvantages.

“We see concerning wide gaps in achievement between our economically disadvantaged students and our students with disability versus our student population as a whole,” Carroll said.

He said it’s expected that these students will have a lower proficiency rate, but the district is not seeing the type of year-to-year improvement it sees with other students.

“Our students with disabilities and our economically disadvantaged students are just getting further and further behind in terms of reading level,” Carroll said.

He said this was especially concerning due to a “very clear demographic trend” in the district’s student population. In recent years, the number of economically disadvantaged students in the district has surpassed the number of non-economically disadvantaged students.

“That demographic tendency adds a lot of urgency to our needs,” Carroll said.

Your hometown. Your news.