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Liverpool super gives State of the District address

— Graduation rate

The graduation rate for 2012 was up to 86.7. For the coming school year, it’s projected to be 89.9.

“This is a highly desirable trend and one much more in keeping with the expectations of the Liverpool school district and community,” Johns said. “The district needs to keep a very close eye on this figure to ensure that adequate measures are being taken particularly to keep the at-risk students in school, thriving in that environment, and graduating with a clear future.”

Johns lamented the decision to close the FOCUS program, an alternative high school aimed at keeping at-risk kids in school.

“I saw this program as the first line of defense for Liverpool High School in curbing a very unacceptable dropout rate [2009 State Education Department calculation of 19 percent],” Johns said. “It is important to note that without the FOCUS program, Liverpool High School will have to be much more resourceful in their internal efforts to stem the phenomenon of dropping out.”

Budget

It was budget concerns that forced the closing of the FOCUS program, and budget concerns that marked many heated debates during board meetings throughout the school year. Indeed, Johns called the entire process “grueling,” citing declining revenues conflicting with the drive to maintain staff, services and reserves.

“Efforts must be made to remove some of the acrimony associated with dwindling district resources,” he said.

Enrollment

From 2000 to 2010, enrollment in the Liverpool Central School District declined by more than 2,000 students, a significant shift that has led the district to consider redistricting in the very near future. Fortunately, Johns said, in the last year, that rate has slowed considerably; in 2011-12, enrollment did go down, but by a modest 1 percent.

“We are now able to make personnel and faculty decisions in a much less hectic mode than previously,” he said.

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