OXFORD – Superintendent Mark Eastman told SAD 17 directors Monday that goals are now the name of the game in education.

He said with the No Child Left Behind Act and its ability to take away funding for unmet testing requirements, this an era of accountability and high stakes.

“Meeting goals is the name of the game,” Eastman said.

He established the academic goals of increasing the percentage of students that meet state standards in reading, writing and mathematics by 50 percent.

Eastman laid out “action steps” to reach the goals.

“We need to maximize focused academic time in these targeted disciplines,” he said. “We need to support extended learning opportunities for students who require interventions and enrichment.

“Our district focus and commitment of time and resources must be dedicated to helping students meet these goals,” he said.

Eastman said the district must develop and certify a local assessment system by June 2004 and prepare for annual assessments in grades three to eight in reading and mathematics in 2005.

“All this must be done in a time of declining resources,” he said.

He pointed out how the No Child Left Behind Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act have increased district costs because they have not been fully funded by the federal government. The number of high needs children also keeps rising.

He noted that current state subsidy plans show a decrease in general purpose aid for 2005. GPA is the amount of money the state gives a school/school district to aid in operations.

While he painted a tough economic picture, he also praised the district for its accomplishments such as getting a new elementary school for Paris, bringing higher education to Oxford Hills in the form of the Western Maine University and College Center currently being built.

And he said the grants received by the district have certainly helped soften education and construction costs.

He said the Aspire Higher goal set several years ago was to have 80 percent of students move onto post secondary education by 2005. Last year 76 percent of the students went on to higher education, while in 2003, only 70.5 percent of the students did.

In other business, the board approved holding a public hearing on the new Paris school site. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Forum at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. The regular board meeting will follow the hearing.

The board accepted a bid from Union Oil Co. of 98.71 cents for small and large loads of diesel fuel. Union Oil was the only one of five bidding firms which would guarantee a price for the school year.

The board accepted a bid of 87 cents per gallon for No. 2 fuel oil from CN Brown Co.

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