Local News: September 14, 2023

- Ithaca Reaches Payment Agreement with Cornell University -

On September 14, Cornell University and Ithaca Mayor Laura Lewis announced that a new voluntary payment agreement had been reached. According to a joint statement, Cornell will pay the City $4 million dollars a year for the next 21 years. The Ithaca Common Council will hold a special meeting on September 20 to vote on the new agreement. If approved by the Common Council it will go into effect immediately. Last week, Mayor Lewis released a statement saying Cornell ended negotiations with the City over a payment in place of property taxes. Also at that special meeting, the Council may vote on the revised draft homeless encampment policy. There will be a public comment period at the beginning of the meeting. Residents must sign up to speak. A link with details is on our website, WRFI dot org slash news. Details are here.

- Tompkins County bus service cutting some routes -

TCAT, Tompkins County’s public bus service is cutting weekday service on several routes starting September 14. Officials say the cuts are necessary because of busses undergoing maintenance and a driver shortage.  More details are here.

- Two Ithaca Area Schools Suffer Drop in State Ratings Last Year -

Two Ithaca area schools suffered a drop in their state ratings last year. Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca and Enfield Elementary School lost “good standing” status from the state education department in 2022. A school can lose status for many reasons including student test scores or attendance. The Ithaca Voice reports Enfield lost status because a low percentage of students were proficient in core subjects like math or English. Also, 62% of students were labeled ‘chronically absent” meaning they missed more than 10% of all school days. Beverly J. Martin’s status dropped because of the disproportionate results in testing by Black and African American students and their poor attendance records. The Voice says that the state data can be skewed because there are so few minority students in schools like BJM and Enfield. For example, BJM evaluations were based on test scores from ten Black fourth graders. The Ithaca City School district board voted for improvement plans for the two schools at Tuesday’s meeting.

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