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Most pleased with quality of education

Rochester Business Journal
August 29, 2014

Area residents report being satisfied with the education and fiscal management in their public school districts.

Four out of five RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents rate the quality of education received by public school students in the district in which they live as excellent or good.

In terms of fiscal management, 36 percent said their public school district does a good job, compared with roughly a quarter each who said excellent and fair and 13 percent who said poor.

One hundred percent of respondents from the Pittsford Central School District give their schools an excellent or good rating for education, while among those in the city of Rochester, just 16 percent give the same positive rating.

In Pittsford, 79 percent rated the quality of education as excellent, while the remaining 21 percent said good. Pittsford’s fiscal management received somewhat less favorable results; 83 percent said excellent or good.

Nearly half of Rochester residents who responded gave the city district a fair rating for fiscal management, and 38 percent said poor.

Academically, Brighton Central School District got excellent or good ratings from 94 percent of respondents who live there. Nearly three-quarters gave the same positive ratings for money management.

Webster Central School District also fared well. Ninety-two percent gave the district a rating of good or excellent, and two-thirds gave positive ratings for fiscal management.

Eighty-four percent of respondents from Fairport gave positive ratings for education, compared with 76 percent in Penfield.

And in Greece, fewer than two-thirds gave education a good or excellent rating; in fiscal management, no readers gave it an excellent ranking and just 23 percent said good.

Roughly 450 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted Aug. 25 and 26.

Overall, how would you rate the quality of education received by public school students in the district where you reside?
Excellent: 44%
Good: 37%
Fair: 11%
Poor: 9%

How would you rate the fiscal management of the public school district where you reside?
Excellent: 26%
Good: 36%
Fair: 25%
Poor: 13%


COMMENTS:
Not only are scholastic results (in the Victor Central School District) on a par with the “best” local districts, but extracurricular activities, especially sports, rank in the top tier also! And imagine, at a much lower per-pupil cost; do wonders never cease?
—Andrea Graham, Upstate Special Risk Services Inc.

I live (and my wife teaches) in the Victor Central School District. Our two children received a great public school education that offered them many academic and athletic options. They took advantage of them and are both enrolled as honors students in the SUNY system. The key to a successful academic experience is parental involvement. You have to get involved with and spend time with your children’s teachers. They can only do so much for the limited time they have them in school. They want your child to succeed. Work with your children at home. It is your responsibility.
—Dave Iadanza, Farmington

East Irondequoit Central School District has exceeded our expectations. The district consistently provides quality education, services and programs, including a music program second to none, as well as unique opportunities for parents to get involved, such as the Parent Project and the Community Cafe. We feel very fortunate to be right where we are.
—Sheryl Keegan

While education in Webster is good, it is not excellent for the student who needs remedial help for trouble learning to read. The district should be more focused on actually addressing the underlying cause, as opposed to getting the struggling student through the almighty state test! Parents shouldn’t have to fight for years, hire their own expert and lawyer to finally get what is required to help a child who is otherwise “normal” become functionally literate. Perhaps the delay-and-deny approach to special needs is the reason they can say their spending per pupil is low.
—Debbie Gleason

The “fiscal responsibility” piece in Rush-Henrietta Central School District is good, but the priorities are misguided. While I certainly appreciate the district’s successful navigation of the recent financial crisis, I wish they would do more to promote academic programs. The high school level offerings in math are quite limited (e.g.; Algebra 2/Trigonometry is crammed into one stress-filled year, there is no AP Calculus BC or non-AP Statistics), but they found money to restore sports programs when more funds became available. Capital investments went primarily toward playing fields and scoreboards rather than to expanding classroom space. R-H is still one of only a few districts in the county not to offer full-day kindergarten.
—S. Wyatt

I am always stumped on the category of effective use of taxpayers’ dollars (including per-pupil spending ratios and superintendent and teacher pay). Most schools come out at $17K+ per pupil. How does this rank against other states and similar cities around the country?
—Keith Newcomer

Although there is a very steep (hill) to climb, the (Rochester City School District) superintendent and school board president are committed to the task, and seem to understand that the whole thing is about the kids. I wish them, the principals and the classroom teachers success.
—Dan Karin, retired

I question why Irondequoit has two school districts with duplicate administrations and costs. It’s an outrage, considering the student population is no different than others in the area with one administration. Helps explain why Irondequoit has the second-highest real estate tax rate in Monroe County. Disgraceful!
—Rich Mileo

Federal and state mandates are stifling our educational system. Next, those people that are elected on our school board mean well but are unprepared to actually accomplish much. Many are not really qualified to be on the board. However, there are few willing to serve.
—John Sackett

My wife and I live in the same school district, Gates Chili, where she grew up. She is very proud of her high school degree and felt it prepared her for her college and graduate degrees. There were accelerated programs for the kids who wanted to put in more time and work harder. When we lived part in Brighton and part in the city, we sent our children to the Brighton Central School District through grammar and middle school and then to McQuaid and Mercy for high school.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.

Since our five children have long ago moved through the college system, I am really not that involved, but comments I hear (about Penfield Central School District) are generally pretty favorable, the administration is very cost-conscious and students seem to be well-served.
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield

If Webster, Greece and other school districts can have multiple high schools within one district, then why does Irondequoit continue to waste tax dollars with two districts?
—Cliff Milligan

We must eliminate Common Core in order to maintain local control of our school districts.
—Angelo Cito, Rush

For more comments, go to rbjdaily.com.  To participate in the weekly RBJ Snap Poll, sign up for the Daily Report at rbj.net/dailyreport.asp.

8/29/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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