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Sackets Harbor Central denying new out-of-district requests

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SACKETS HARBOR — Out-of-district parents hoping to get their children into Sackets Harbor Central this year are out of luck.

The Sackets Harbor Board of Education agreed unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting to deny new out-of-district requests this year to focus on the academic success of the students already enrolled in the district.

Board member Christine M. Allen was absent.

“Our policy states we have to take care of our own first,” said Superintendent Frederick E. Hall Jr.

The school has been admitting tuition-paying students from outside the district since before Mr. Hall took over in 2008. However, sweeping changes in education, such as the Common Core — an initiative to align education standards throughout the country — and the administration and teacher evaluations that follow, have come during the past 12 months.

Mr. Hall said the 20 out-of-district students who are already enrolled will be allowed to stay in the school district. Additionally, students who relocate in the middle of the school year can be approved in order to “keep educational continuity,” Mr. Hall said.

However, two requests recently sent to the school will not be approved.

The resolution comes after Common Core assessment results led to shockingly low scores throughout the state. Mr. Hall pointed out that the school district scored higher than all other school districts in the area, and he wants it to stay that way.

“We know what students we have,” he said. “We know where they’re at. We want our kids to succeed and be college and career ready.”

Principal Jennifer L. Gaffney-Goodnough said the district is running out of space in its intervention services.

“We don’t have any more room to add out-of-district students to our intervention program,” she said. “We are maxed out with our own students.”

Mr. Hall emphasized that the policy may be reversed later at the board’s discretion, but it is the best decision for this year as the pressure increases for both students and teachers to achieve higher standards.

“We may be one of the only districts that allows out-of-district students,” he said. “Once they’re here, they’re part of the fabric of our school. This year, we’re going to look at everything we have.”

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