East Williston school board refinances bonds

Sandra Tehranian

The East Williston Board of Education unanimously voted Monday night to refinance up to $5.5 million of its outstanding bonds at a lower interest rate.

The district issued more than $8.5 million in bonds in 2005. They will not reach maturity until next year, but the initial bond resolution said the district could refinance them a year early.

This will save the district up to $50,000 a year until they reach full maturity in 2020, Assistant Superintendent for Business Jacqueline Pirro said.

“This is similar to remortgaging your home,” Pirro said.

The board also discussed Wheatley High School’s most recent Advanced Placement and state Regents test results.

A strong point was the English Regents test, in which 94 percent of Wheatley students reached the highest performance level. This year’s test was the first to adopt the Common Core curriculum.

The Earth science Regents test had a lower mastery rate because half the number of students took the exam, school officials said.

Only 15 percent of the students taking the physics Regents showed mastery. 

The number is low, Wheatley principal Sean Feeney said, because top students only take the AP physics exams and test is given during time of graduation.

The passing rate for the lower level of the AP physics test was down this year, which was changed from “Physics B” to “Physics 1.” Thirteen of the 25 students who took the test passed with a score of three or higher.

Many schools across the U.S. saw a similar drop because of the changes in the test, Feeney said.

One more student passed the higher-level “Physics C” test than last year. 

But the overall AP passing rate declined eight points this year, from 78 percent to 70 percent.

These scores will help in preparation for future tests as implementation of new Common Core standards continues, Feeney said. 

This year will be the first time the Common Core algebra and trigonometry test is administered.

“These results are a snapshot in time,” Feeney said. “We look at other things, too.”

In other developments:

  • The board voted to rescind a series of policies that are obsolete or covered by other policies and regulations.
  • The board appointed school board President Mark Kamberg as a liaison to the district-wide School Safety Committee.
  • The board approved contracts with Pets4Luv for vocational exploration; Long Island Chess Nuts Association for a before-and after-school program; Creative Tutoring Inc., Syosset Home Tutoring and EMCC LLC for tutoring services; and Heinemann for a professional development workshop.
  • AHRC has committed to purchasing obsolete equipment (computers, printers, etc) that the board agreed the district could dispose. 
  • Audra Beberman — an instructional technology specialist, staff developer, technology integration — won the Educators Choice Award and hopes to win the BAMMY this Saturday.

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Sandra Tehranian

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