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Hampton School Board seeks SOL reform

Jordan Crawford | 11/14/2013, 10 a.m.
Hampton’s School Board is considering a resolution that would urge the state to re-examine Standards of Learning (SOL) tests.

Hampton’s School Board is considering a resolution that would urge the state to re-examine Standards of Learning (SOL) tests which will surely improve the plight of the Virginia public school K-12 grader.

Four local school boards recently passed similar resolutions and others are considering it.

Hampton’s Superintendent Linda Shifflette told members of the board at a business meeting Wednesday evening that the resolution primarily asks the state board to look at the number of tests students are required to take.

“We would like to have the state board examine the amount of testing that is being done and the format of the testing that is being done,” she said.

School Board member Phyllis Henry said she wants the state to look at the amount of manpower, teacher time and money spent on standardized tests.

“There’s so many issues tied to the SOL testing that the state board needs to address … this is overkill. This is not accountability, it’s beating us to death with the same stick,” Henry said.

Board members will revisit the proposed resolution at their next meeting later this month.

In other business, officials are expecting a loss of $200,000 in the current year’s budget because of a decrease in enrollment.

The division reported an Average Daily Membership (ADM) of 20,347 students as of Sept. 30. Officials expect that number to drop to 20,113 in March based on trends from previous years.

The ADM calculates the average number of students on any given day based on the number of students enrolled and absences. The anticipated drop is 37 students fewer than the 20,150 students budgeted for the current year.

Despite ongoing budget concerns, the division was able to find one way to save some cash. Officials reported a savings of $178,422 in energy expenses during the last six months. The division contracted with the energy conservation company Cenergistic to help officials look for ways to reduce energy use and train employees to be more efficient.