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Ludlow Schools Set Increased Tax Rate, Address Learning Gap

The Ludlow board of education increased its tax rate by 1.7% in a vote last week.

The old tax rate was $95.9 per $100,000 of assessed value. The new rate is $97.6 per $100,000 of assessed value, which is expected to yield approximately $92,000.

Superintendent Michael Borchers gave the board an update on the improvements in the gym building. He said the two bathrooms have been renovated, and all they need are the mirrors which haven't come in yet. The entire project came in under budget. He also told the board the entire gym floor has been refinished.

Borchers also reported that the enrollment is 768 in the district, which is 5 below the enrollment pre-pandemic. The number is holding steady, he said.

Jason Steffen, the district's teaching and learning coordinator, explained his plan to help the students who need extra assistance with reading and math. 

Steffen told the board that the district has been able to test students early so that they can be identified if their scores come under the 25th percentile in reading and math. 

Approximately 30 students in each grade from Kindergarten through third grade had scores in that category.

Steffen said he has put two teachers in, one specializing in math and one in reading, to add to the math and reading the students will be getting. Steffen said it will be doubling the amount of help the students will get in a normal day.

The same thing is happening with the 4th through 6th graders, and in the high school also.

Steffen said he wants to get the students up to grade-level as soon as possible.

Steffen said that he realizes the district cannot erase any learning gap overnight, but he hopes to get a third of the students out of intervention this year and a third next year. He said he knows it will be incremental progress, but it still needs to be progress.

Borchers also explained some COVID-related issues. He noted that the state board of education mandated masks to be worn by all people in all public school facilities, a rule that Ludlow must follow.

He said that if a student is diagnosed with Covid, that student will immediately go to Google classroom.  The teachers for that student's classes will turn on their ability to share the class with any students at home.  

If students are exposed but are not a positive case, the students will follow the same protocol.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor