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State Mandates $1.04 Million in Teaching Positions: Towns Responsible for Funding

Massachusetts looking for $1.04 million in unfunded mandates for new teaching positions.The money will have to come from the towns.,

The Mansfield School Committee discussed the budget on Tuesday, and the $1,048,265 in mandated teaching positions the state has passed down.

Superintendent of Schools Brenda Hodges said that these mandates are unfunded, and will have to be picked up by the district.

“The state mandates dictate staffing needs,” she said. “The state has given us a number of new mandates, and those mandates associated with the way state is saying [it is] going to evaluate [the district].”

These mandates won't have to be implemented immediately, but Hodges said each has its deadline.

One of these mandates includes providing students with disabilities with accommodations and support structures. These mandates are staff driven, and Hodges said that the state is using a new rubric in which to judge schools’ achievement level.

She said there are currently five levels of achievement, with level 1 being the highest and level 5 being the lowest. She said no schools in the state are currently level five, and that Mansfield just barely made level 2 last year because of an error involving one student’s applicability in the testing. She added that only 20-percent of the state is a level 1 or 2.

This rating system basically states that if any subgroups of students do not reach the state goal, then the entire district’s achievement level will go down.

She added that in Mansfield, the most difficult student subgroup to reach the set achievement level would be special needs and students with disabilities.

“Those needs are small groups, intensive remediation; they take a lot of staff manpower and varied teaching strategies,” she said. “The state is saying if you’re not meeting the needs of this group of students … then you as a district will not be successful, no matter how our top performers do, no matter how well our group of average students. Every school will be rated in the performance on their lowest ranking group.”

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