In addition, the site offers some general information about all districts in Clinton County.
The group intends to eventually provide extensive data regarding all school districts in Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties, possibly even beyond, and hopes to comprise members who reside in those districts, as well.
“Initially, we will focus on the local area, but there is no reason why (United for the Kids) cannot grow to include more of the state,” Holly said.
WORKING FOR CHANGE
The Simses hope that by cultivating informed school communities, the group can bring about change in the ways districts educate kids, manage their finances and relate to their communities.
“The common thing across New York is there are people that are frustrated and they feel they can’t get information about their school, from their school, and we act as a larger group entity, that people can get behind, and it’s easier to get things done when you have a lot of people working for a common goal,” John said.
One concern among members of the organization is that too many students in the state are not graduating high school with the skills necessary to be successful in colleges or careers.
During a recent speaking engagement at West Side Ballroom in Plattsburgh, New York State Commissioner of Education Dr. John King Jr. stated that fewer than 35 percent of the state’s high-school graduates are ready to take credit-bearing community-college courses.
Yet, Holly said, New York state spends the most money per student of any state in the nation.
According to Public Education Finances: 2010, a report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau in June 2012, New York spent $18,618 per student in 2010, second only to the $18,667 per student spent by the District of Columbia that year.
“Throwing money at this is not doing anything,” said United for the Kids member Walter Chmura, a taxpayer of the Plattsburgh City School District.