The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 27, 2007

Conneaut expects boost in schools' test scores

CONNEAUT - - Preliminary data from the state indicates Conneaut schools made some significant gains in it's proficiency test scores, officials said.

Conneaut High School looks to retain it's "excellent" status, while Gateway Elementary and Conneaut Middle schools met more of the state's many indicators, Mary Zappitelli, Conneaut Area City Schools superintendent, told Board of Education members Thursday

night.

"We did OK," she said. "I'm very pleased."

Final figures expected later this summer will tell the tale, but early indicators point to progress in many of the categories evaluated by the state, Zappitelli said.

Last year the board cut several teachers and administrators in a $1.2 million budget-tightening move. At the time, officials feared the loss of staff would have an adverse effect on test scores.

CHS has earned an excellent rating for two consecutive years, the only Ashtabula County high school to achieve that rank. Recently CHS was named one of Ohio's "Schools of Promise."

In other business, a window upgrade program at Conneaut's new schools is "well under way," Zappitelli said. Workers are attaching panels to windows to end condensation problems that have plagued the panes since the buildings opened.

The school district and the Ohio School Facilities Commission are teaming up to seek compensation for the work from GPD Group of Akron, the buildings' architect/designer. A mediation session will be held in July, Zappitelli said.

"We're going to try to get this settled without going to court," she said.

Elsewhere, the board:

* Accepted the resignations of Conneaut High School teachers Joseph Gerics and Maureen Ritari, CHS guidance counselor Danielle Saraceni (effective June 30) and Sandy Clark, Conneaut Middle School physical educator teacher (effective Sept. 19). Clark is retiring, while the others are relocating out of the area, officials said.

* Raised school lunch prices by 25 cents for the 2007-2008 year. Elementary lunches will cost $2.25 and secondary lunches $2.50. Milk will jump to 35 cents, a five-cent increase. The increased cost of providing the self-sustaining meal program was blamed for the price hike.

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