It appears that some board members of the Kennmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District (generally known as the Ken-Ton district) have had enough.
The district is located north-ish of Buffalo, NY, and serves roughly 75,000 residents. And tomorrow night, board president Bob Dana wants to fire a shot across the state capital's bow.
The story has just been picked up by the Buffalo press in the last hour. In that piece, Dana is plenty clear:
“Enough is enough. He’s slowly bleeding us away,” Dana said of Cuomo on
Monday. “I have never been a conspiracy theorist. But every time I look
at the things that are getting proposed and where they’re coming from,
they’re not fair, they’re not legal, they’re not right.”
He has two resolutions drafted and ready to go.
First, a resolution that protests both the current 20% system and the proposed 50% for counting standardized test results in teacher evaluations, and demands that both be abandoned. The resolution calls for a representative council drawing from many of the states educational professional groups to develop a fair and equitable teacher evaluation system. If those demands aren't met,
The Board of Education of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda UFSD will, upon the approval and acceptance of the KTA & KAA, seriously consider eliminating using student test data as part of our teachers and administrators evaluations. Furthermore, it would be expected that the KTA & KAA would be receptive to recalculating the remaining portion of their evaluations to a total 100%.
Second, a resolution that the governor stop holding school funds hostage and comply with the court-ordered return to districts of the money owed them by the state of New York. If the state won't do so, the district will
seriously consider not administering standardized testing in grades 3-8.
In other words, Dana would like to tell Andrew Cuomo to "go get stuffed." I'm paraphrasing.
While some district folks are calling on parents to support the board by submitting opt-out letters, not everybody is feeling feisty. The district's superintendent Dawn Mirand has sent out a statement that basically says, "I feel your pain. Everybody is frustrated and school boards want to watch out for their children and districts, but it would really be better if we didn't go do something crazy that would earn us a serious spanking by the state. I will keep working within the law to do something about the state's mess of dumb regulations, but in the meantime, the law is the law and let's not volunteer to be made an example of. Vote no on this thing." I'm paraphrasing.
The meeting of the five member board is tomorrow (March 10). It looks like it could be quite the adventure. Granted, a resolution to seriously consider possibly doing stuff leaves the board a lot of wiggle room, but if nothing else, it marks the frustration level in the outskirts of Cuomo's domain. Stay tuned. [Update: The account of how this meeting turned out can be found here.]
*All right. I spent five minutes debating the intricacies of New York geographical subdivisions. I had this argument forty years ago in college with residents of what may be either "Western NY, " "Upstate NY," "Buffalo-area-the-rest-of-the-state-is-really-East-of-Us NY" and other variations I have since forgotten. I mean no malice toward anyone who does not care for my geographical designation. I had to locate it somewhere.