Gananda School Board explores program to raise graduation rates.

An update on the Accelerate U program, originally offered as a result of Gananda’s strategic plan to raise graduation rates, was presented by High School Principal Kelly VanLaeken to the board recently.

While it can be used for academic enrichment, facilitating graduation remains the foremost priority of the program. 

Through Accelerate U, Gananda offers AP stats, career and financial management, AP language and comprehension, accounting and consumer math. 

Science courses are difficult to arrange, because Gananda must, by mandate, provide all the labs each high school student requires. 

The majority of the work is done online, with most courses scheduled into a student’s timetable. Generally, each course is a year long, but students need to sign up and pay for one semester at a time.

The district funds the cost of $670 per semester, per course, as credits received from the completed courses will not be added to students’ high school transcripts unless Gananda pays for it. 

The board suggested looking into options for online courses similar to Accelerate U, but where the course could be funded from outside the district with points still added to Gananda transcripts, or perhaps offered with a transcript of its own that would be acceptable for student application/resume processes.

In other business, the board:

HEARD — a member of the public suggest that the school advertise the names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of legislators, to help the public in supporting school districts through petitions and letters.

HEARD — an update on the instructional side of the budget. Salary makes up 80 percent of this side of the budget, which increased by $250,000 across the district this year.  

HEARD — the district will be refunding one of their bonds in the coming weeks from a 4.5 percent interest rate to 3.5 percent, which will save the district $250,000 to 275,000 over 10 years.

HEARD — VanScoy will meet with Sen. Mike Nozzolio and Assemblyman Bob Oaks, where he will ask that they support the request that the $500 million that  Gov. Andrew Cuomo is holding back for competitive grants be put back into the foundation aid formula for schools and shared evenly, as per the state aid formula. 

VanScoy received a call from Nozzolio addressing growing concerns that residents of the Gananda school district have been sharing. 

“This is the crunch time, the time that we can have a voice,” VanScoy said. “I’m glad that Senator Nozzolio called me. It’s clear that people are voicing their concerns. It gets attention and a response. We got a response because residents want to have a voice.”