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New York schools can average state test participation rates

After so many students in grades 3-8 statewide opted out of the English Language Arts exams given this week, schools that failed to have 95 percent of their students take the tests won't have to worry this year about failing to make the grade.

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NJ schools take the PARCC test for a test-drive

Several hundred districts in New Jersey volunteered to test drive the math and language arts sections of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers during a four-week window that began March 24. The scores will not count.

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Kansas legislators tackle school funding question

The Kansas Senate has approved a plan aimed at fixing an unconstitutional funding imbalance between rich and poor school districts. The plan gives local school districts the ability to expand their taxing authority with voter consent but also contains some controversial provisions.

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Newtown schools enrollment declines post Sandy Hook

School officials have commissioned an enrollment study to determine if the drop in students is part of a larger demographic shift that is being felt in many suburban school districts or if it is yet another lingering effect of the school shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators in December 2012.

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Troubled North Carolina charter closes aburptly

StudentFirst Academy's charter board, which won state approval to open the west Charlotte charter school in August, cited ever-deepening financial problems as it surrendered its state charter on April 3. On that night, board members began telling parents that their students’ last day would be April 11.

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Maine city approves $43.7 million school budget

The Bangor School Committee approved a $43.7 million budget for fiscal year 2015, an increase of 2.42 percent over this year’s budget. The increase is to accommodate the rising costs of personnel and utilities coupled with a nearly $1 million decrease in funding from the state.

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Cadaver lab planned to educate select Ill. high school students

McLean County Medical Society is sponsoring a Human Anatomy Cadaver Dissection Lab for advanced-level high school students interested in careers in medicine. Labs, which will cost no money but offer no credit, will be limited to students who have the interest, maturity and intelligence to work on dissection.

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Pa. proposal to limit charter sports programs draws debate

Currently, charter students in Pennsylvania who want to play multiple sports must play for their school teams if that sport is offered and, for other sports, may play on teams at their neighborhood public school. A proposal is being introduced that would limit sports programs at charter schools.

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New Jersey city district may lay off 400

Faced with a $75 million shortfall, the Camden City School District announced plans to eliminate 575 positions, resulting in as many as 400 layoffs. The layoffs are attributed to declining enrollment, overspending and cuts in federal funding. The cuts amount to a 32 percent reduction in central office staffing and 20 percent in school staffing.

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Mass. city board votes for over $360 million in renovations

In addition to four other school renovations totaling over $116 million, Lowell's school board voted to make the proposed $245.4 million addition and renovation of Lowell High School its priority building project. The city is submitting funding requests for all five projects to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for potential reimbursement.

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