Friday, December 07, 2012

APS joins club, taxpayers on the hook for about $40M

The leadership of the APS, when they go looking for answers, look for national movements to join.

The have grabbed another straw, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

In order to join the club, APS has to comply with the requirements of PARCC. Compliance will cost $39M upfront and $15M every year thereafter.

APS doesn't need to be part of a consortium to teach and test the Core Standards.  They can do it themselves, by themselves, anytime the want to. It was only their deliberate choice to teach to NCLB testing instead, that drew teaching away from the core curriculum in the first place.

Why does APS need to be part of a "consortium of 23 states working to create a test of the Common Core standards". If APS employees were given 40 million dollars to create tests that work on the computers we already have, couldn't they? If they were given fifteen million dollars a year to keep it all working, couldn't they?

Board Member and batterer Kathy Korte
reports; “I’m just sitting here blown away
by the cost.”

One might wonder, why?
Why is she surprised?

Doesn't she approve the budget this money will come from?

How did APS join this consortium without knowing it was going to cost $40M?

The sound is reminiscent of board members expressing surprise at $500K in cost overruns on their new board room, link.

According to the Journal, link, APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya said the district will pay for the upgrades through capital money, not the operational budget.

Moya said, he is finding ways to tighten the capital budget.
How about not spending it on joining national consortia
instead of building school buildings?

APS is coming to taxpayers in February for more capital money, $368M more.

There is of course a lower cost option APS didn't take.
According the Journal;

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is one of two national groups developing tests of Common Core standards. Harris said of the two, the partnership has higher technology standards with greater costs to districts.
The consortium would like every student to have a new high powered computer/network so they can test simultaneously. Consortia take great interest in students doing things in unison. The Journal reports, APS Chief Information Officer Lynn Harris said,
the district may also be able to schedule testing so it won’t need a computer for every student. “We are beginning to believe that we won’t need one computer per student for each test,” Harris said. “It might be one-to-four or one-to-three, and they might stagger testing throughout the day, and that would minimize our financial impact.”
Wow, how clever.

photo Mark Bralley

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