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John J. Watkins, The Times

LANSING — David Shrader, the D.171 chief school business official, presented the board of education on Monday with a tentative tax levy that will be up for approval next month.

Shrader said the district is asking for $6.74 million in tax money, adding the amount the district will actually get will likely be about the same as the $6,419,000 received via the last levy.

He said the levy is done with an estimation of how properties will be assessed and that a truth in taxation meeting will not be required since the district is not requesting an increase of over 5 percent from the amount received through the previous levy.

Also, the 2016-2017 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) scores are in and show Sunnybrook Elementary School District 171 students performing much better in English language arts (ELA) than in mathematics.

"Our students, they are strong in reading and comprehending, but they can definitely be better," said Shalonda Randle, director of school improvement.

The assessment is given annually in grades three through eight, and the new numbers show an increase in the percentage of students who met or exceeded state expectations in ELA in grades three, six and seven compared to 2015-2016.

Grades six and seven scored higher than the state average in ELA for 2016-2017.

While there were small increases in the percentage of students who met or exceeded state expectations in mathematics for grades four, six and eight, all grades fell well short of state averages.

Randle said district students are struggling at basic operations such as addition, division, multiplication, fractions and decimals.

"What we need to do is hone in on those teachers who are showing increases in math and start highlighting them as coaches to help other teachers," Randle said.

She said another matter the district needs to address is making sure students who move on from Nathan Hale Elementary to Heritage Middle School are prepared to do online versus paper-based assessments.

"One of the biggest issues that we are finding is that our children need to know how to type," Randle said. "And when they can't type they get frustrated, and at some point, they just stop taking the test because it's too difficult."

In other district news, those who attend the Heritage Middle School girls basketball game at 4 p.m. Tuesday are encouraged to wear a pink article of clothing for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to donate a minimum of $1 so a goal of $500 can be reached and donated to a local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

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