Engineer will check structural integrity of Albion school

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 April 2016 at 12:00 am

ELA tests for grades 3-5 will shift to makeup date

Photos by Tom Rivers – The spot where an SUV crashed into the Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School is boarded up Monday evening.

ALBION – An engineer from King & King Architects will inspect the elementary school for structural soundness today.

King & King is the Syracuse firm that designed the addition to the elementary school that was hit by an SUV on Monday. The vehicle left a gaping hole in a fourth-grade classroom and several cracks in the back wall of the school by the community entrance.

Albion school leaders decided to close school today, and Superintendent Michael Bonnewell said it could be closed longer depending on the engineer’s report.

Bonnewell and the Board of Education said the safety of students is the top priority. Bonnewell said he is thankful no students were seriously injured when debris was propelled into a classroom. He also said an initial assessment from King & King shows no damage to the steel supports. A structural engineer will do a more detailed analysis of the damage today.

The elementary school is closed on the first day of the state’s ELA (English Language Arts) assessments for grades 3 through 8. The three-day tests go from Tuesday through Thursday. Albion will use a makeup day for Friday. Bonnewell said the district will work with the state if the school is closed for more than today.

The math assessments for grades 3 to 8 are scheduled for April 13-15.

The state has modified the controversial tests where 20 percent of students opted out last year state-wide. In Albion, the opt out rate was 18 percent.

Bonnewell said the percentage is “significantly lower” this time. Last year about 130 students opted out of the ELA tests, and so far 50 won’t be taking them, he said.

The state, in response to the protests over the tests, reduced the number of questions this year and also are giving students an unlimited amount of time to finish the tests.