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Amherst budget chief says Boston business groups’ state education funding report guillotines local school district

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AMHERST – A proposal by two Boston-based business advocacy groups to alter how the state’s Chapter 70 local aid to school districts is disbursed would take a meat cleaver to the local school district, according to the town’s budget chief Sean Mangano.

Nearly $8 million of state education aid would be lopped off the revenue sheets for Amherst school system and Amherst-Pelham regional district, he said.

The two business groups co-wrote a 23-page report – saying more Chapter 70 school aid should go to the least wealthy cities and towns, and less to more affluent communities.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education jointly wrote the research paper – Ryan Flynn from the Alliance and James Sutherland of the Chamber.

The authors acknowledged assistance from a small group of experts.

Those include two men recently in senior leadership positions at the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Both are Chapter 70 whizzes, and oversaw the financial dimension of it – former Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson and former Administrator of School Finance, Roger Hatch, who departed the DESE in 2016 after 36 years.

Wulfson, who was also the acting DESE commissioner for a period of time, retired in April after 25 years with the DESE that included time as the agency’s chief financial officer. Previously, he was Director of Administration, at the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services for 8 years, and for 5 years Chief management analyst at Office of Massachusetts Inspector General back in the 1980s.

In a memorandum to Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman last week, Mangano wrote:

“Amherst schools (secondary and elementary) would lose appx. $7.85 million of Chapter 70 funding or 14% of their combined budgets if the funding formula was changed as advocated by the business groups.

He said

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Portland middle school schedules clarified, rural district pushes to reopen high school: The week in education

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In late July, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said students may not see the inside of a classroom for months if the state didn’t curb steadily rising coronavirus infections.

For much of August, the average daily rate of new cases steadily fell until it hit a season low in mid-September. Then, rates started to climb.

New state modeling shows what Oregon health officials call a “discouraging” trend as the most optimistic scenario forecasts an average of 800 new cases per day by Oct. 22, or about 19 per 100,000 residents.

That’s nearly double the threshold state health and education officials set for all of Oregon’s students to return to in-person instruction.

Those rising infection rates have dashed some districts’ hopes of allowing their students back into classrooms, most notably in Lane and Douglas counties, where spikes in case counts scuttled districts’ hopes of a state-sanctioned reopening.

Here are some of the biggest education stories from across the state:

Education stories from the Portland area:

Portland Public Schools officials offered a mea culpa over what they say was “fuzzy” communication regarding middle school schedules that had parents wondering why their children were only guaranteed 4 1/2 hours of live synchronous instruction per week.

Chief of Schools Shawn Bird told The Oregonian/Oregonlive that some teachers and principals interpreted the schedules to mean they were only allowed to offer three live, whole-class lessons per day on Monday and Tuesday.

“It was fuzzy and I take responsibility for it,” he said. “Hopefully we’re all on the same page now.”

And across the state:

For five consecutive weeks, Douglas County saw fewer than 10 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, clearing the bar set by the state to offer in-person instruction for all of its students. (With various distancing and cohorting measures in place.)

On Sept.

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Parma City School District opens new A.C.E.S. Center for Education for children with autism

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PARMA, Ohio — After a slight construction delay, Parma City Schools’ new A.C.E.S. (Accept, Champion, Educate and Support) Center for Education is nearly finished.



a stove top oven sitting inside of a kitchen: Parma City Schools' A.C.E.S. Center for Education for children with autism is located in Parma High School's north wing.


© John Benson/cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS
Parma City Schools’ A.C.E.S. Center for Education for children with autism is located in Parma High School’s north wing.

The innovative program designed to better serve special education students — specifically children with autism — is located at Parma Senior High School.

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“We’re about two weeks out from the actual facility, which is currently being finished,” said Robert Hoon, director of the district’s Office of Exceptional Students. “So we’re using a temporary space for right now, which we opened the last week. It was a fantastic first week back.

“The students have been completely engaged with our staff, teachers, assistants and related service providers. We’ve done a phenomenal job of getting them acclimated to the center.”

That acclimation included A.C.E.S. Center personnel recently providing families and students with a personalized virtual tour of the 3,400-square-foot facility. Formerly two large classrooms, the space has been repurposed into three classrooms, a sensory room, a conference room, a safe space, an office and ad hoc areas.



a view of a tiled floor: Parma City Schools' A.C.E.S. Center for Education for children with autism is located in Parma High School north wing.


© John Benson/cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS
Parma City Schools’ A.C.E.S. Center for Education for children with autism is located in Parma High School north wing.

A.C.E.S. Center for Education will initially serve K-5 students who have a medical and educational primary diagnosis of autism. The program is designed to provide a highly individualized, therapeutic-based program.

“It’s not structured like a traditional school,” Hoon said. “This program was designed so we could meet the unique needs of these learners. They’re not having to necessarily rotate from class to class to class.

“It’s in an area that is completely removed from the other students at Parma Senior High. There’s a separate access point

0

Parma City Schools District opens new A.C.E.S. Center for Education for children with autism

Posted on

PARMA, Ohio — After a slight construction delay, Parma City Schools new A.C.E.S. (Accept, Champion, Educate and Support) Center for Education is nearly finished.

The innovative program designed to better serve special education students — specifically children with autism — is located at Parma Senior High School.

“We’re about two weeks out from the actual facility, which is currently being finished,,” Parma City Schools Office of Exceptional Students Director Robert Hoon said. “So we’re using a temporary space for right now, which we opened the last week. It was a fantastic first week back.

“The students have been completely engaged with our staff, teachers, assistants and related service providers. We’ve done a phenomenal job of getting them acclimated to the center.”

That acclimation included A.C.E.S. Center personnel recently providing families and students with a personalized virtual tour of the 3,400-square-foot facility. Formerly two large classrooms, the space has been repurposed into three classrooms, a sensory room, a conference room, safe space, office and ad hoc areas.

A.C.E.S. Center for Education will initially serve K-5 students who have a medical and educational primary diagnosis of autism. The program is designed to provide a highly-individualized, therapeutic-based program.

“It’s not structured like a traditional school,” Hoon said. “This program was designed so we could to meet the unique needs of these learners. They’re not having to necessarily rotate from class to class to class.

“It’s in an area that is completely removed from the other students at Parma Senior High. There’s a separate access point in and out of A.C.E.S. It’s very much unique and centralized around whatever it is their needs are at any given moment.”

Earlier this year Parma City Schools appointed Pleasant Valley Elementary School Psychologist as the A.C.E.S. Center for Education Caitlin Sabo director.

“We’re so excited to open