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PCS superintendent: Education Reform Commission Avoids Funding Discussion

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POTSDAM - Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said he feels like Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission intentionally avoided the topic of equitable funding when it released its preliminary report.

“There wasn’t really any discussion for equitable distribution of education funding,” he said, adding mandate relief was also not discussed.

“It was very clear that they did avoid those issues,” Mr. Brady said.

One of the suggestions made by the commission was the extension of pre-kindergarten to a full-day program.

“It’s getting tougher and tougher to maintain it and now they’re talking about expanding it to a full day,” he said. “Some schools don’t have any pre-k.”

At Potsdam, Mr. Brady said the district offers a half-day pre-kindergarten program, something the district is able to maintain thanks to grants that fund the majority of the program’s cost.

Other suggestions included the extension of the school day and even the school year.

“These are suggestions we have heard before, both nationally and in the state,” Mr. Brady said. “They’re not really presenting any novel ideas. They’re just putting them all in one place.”

Mr. Brady said the commission also made said some suggestions that would impact those looking to enter the teaching profession, such as requiring students to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to be admitted into a teaching program and the creation of a “BAR-type” exam that prospective teachers must pass prior to being certified.

Referring to the GPA requirements, Mr. Brady said that is something that has been discussed in the past locally at SUNY Potsdam, where he serves on an education advisory board.

“I think the commission did a good job of putting together a plan,” he said. “However, there is no plan to pay for any of those initiatives, each of which has a significant cost implications at a time when schools are struggling to survive.”

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