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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pay for K? Meet Pay for Play

When we last left Pay for K in November, the district hadn't been able to figure out what money had come in or even who was supposed to be paying.   At a later Audit and Finance Committee meeting, it appeared more under control but the handout still didn't explain if they had fully implemented it and were receiving all the money due to the district.

On the heels of that comes another snafu, this time with Pay for Play which is for students who want to participate in competitive athletics in high school.  (This is not for PE or intramural sports.)  

The old fee was $50 for the first sport and $25 for the second sport (with a cap at $75 for 3+ sports).  The Board approved raising the fee for this year.   I believe that the new fee was $100 for the first sport and $30 for the second (again, with a cap at $130 for 3+).  (Still checking on this because the new website has old data and no one answers at the School Board office but it was raised.) All students also have to pay an ASB fee of $50.   I don't believe that there is a F/RL fee but I know most schools have a scholarship fund for that purpose.


At the Audit and Finance Committee meeting last Thursday (this one focusing on Finance), it came out that a Board-approved increase for Pay for Play never got implemented.  Money that the district had been expecting to come in because of the increase, of course, didn't.   And, they did not tell the Board until now even though they knew sooner (it's unclear if they knew at the beginning of the year or just figured it out).  Duggan Harmon was the one to give them the bad news.

Sadly, it is hard to blame anyone because the two people who should have done the implementation, Al Hairston and Ammon McWashington,  the Athletic Coordinator and  (I believe) the inter-district Sports Coordinator respectively, both retired last year.  That this was passed by the Board and yet didn't seem to be on Accounting's radar makes you wonder what happens to issues of finance that get passed by the Board.  Is there a chain of where a finance item goes after it passes?  Is Accounting notified or is that the duty of whatever department manager the item fall under?

Apparently, Sherry Carr had steam coming out her ears.  I think she was very upset this kind of error had happened again.  She asked Michael De Bell if he knew anything about it and he said no.  Michael told Duggan that he wanted a "lessons learned" report about his incident.  I don't know what the financial loss is to the district or whether the athletic budget had been based around the fee increases. 

When I heard about this, my response was that I hoped this was the end of the long but fading smoke trail of "things we don't tell the Board."  It is deeply troubling but again, I hope for a new day in SPS and I believe that Mr. Boesche and Dr. Enfield are going to have to be the ones to show staff that is the case.

59 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Uh, Duggan was the same one who raised the other oops six weeks ago. Sorry, but for the Exec Dir of Finance, I expect a better grasp of the numbers and fewer oopsies.

Maureen said...

Didn't Cordell Carter take McWashington's spot? Is this one of his responsibilities and did he really resign and leave? Someone posted a comment on another thread that makes me wonder.

dan dempsey said...

So Sherry Carr was visibly upset because someone clearly was not doing their job and perhaps the systems in place are inadequate.

Yet she finds no problem that State laws are violated and Nothing is changed when it comes to the Board's failure to perform.

RCW 28A 645.020
Within twenty days of service of the notice of appeal, the school board, at its expense, or the school official, at such official's expense, shall file the complete transcript of the evidence and the papers and exhibits relating to the decision for which a complaint has been filed. Such filings shall be certified to be correct.

Sherry should try wearing all the shoes that fit, before complaining about the shoes of others.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It is unclear to me what Mr. Carter job is now. But he does make $93k+ a year so I hope the district is getting its money's worth.

dan dempsey said...

So is Cordell Carter still employed by the District?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I believe he is leaving but not until August.

Charlie Mas said...

This was Mr. Carter job. I sure hope it isn't his job anymore.

Charlie Mas said...

My understanding of Pay for K goes like this:

The state only pays for half-day kindergarten, so families that want full-day kindergarten have to pay for the additional school time to help defray the costs.

Have I got that right?

If so, then try this on for size:

The state only pays for five periods a day of high school, so families that want a six-period day have to pay for the additional school time to help defray the costs.

How does that feel?

Why should it be any different in high school than it is in kindergarten?

And, for those who think the distinction is "college readiness", I could argue that college-readiness is determined more in early education than in the final year.

Cap'n Billy Keg said...

Yes, Maureen (and Dan), Cordell Carter will be gone at the end of August, so until then he is still being paid to take up office space and breathe the air at Central Admin...

Jet City mom said...

And, for those who think the distinction is "college readiness", I could argue that college-readiness is determined more in early education than in the final year.

I have to say I agree & while I believe the decision on when to enter formal schooling resides with the parents, I also think that a full day at 5 or 6 years will make a bigger impact on a students K-12 experience, than an extra 50 minutes in high school. particularly on the students from challenging backgrounds.

Disgusted said...

If Cordell Carter was indeed responsible for this, he needs to go now.

No sense keeping this highly paid and ineffective bureaucrat sucking from the trough of public funds.

There have been ineffective and highly paid bureaucrats populating JSS. Time for real shake up.

Charlie Mas said...

I would like to see a standard pay scale for non-certificated staff working at the JSCEE. With that standard pay scale there should also be standards for raises.

anonymous said...

While I'd like to see both full day K, and a 6 period day in HS fully funded, I find it hard to compare the two.

First of all Kindergarten isn't mandatory. It's optional. You do not legally have to send your child to kindergarten. Second of all, if you do choose to send your child to kindergarten, a 1/2 day is generally adequate. In fact a full day is overwhelming and exhausting for many 5 year olds (mine included). Sure, there are probably some 5 year olds that rally need a 6 hour day, 5 days a week, but I'd venture to say that most don't, and are only there because their working parents need day care. Which is fine. It's their choice. But if they make that choice - then they are being asked to pay.

High school on the other hand is not optional. All students must go to high school. Sure, we could cut back to a 5 period day, however, even with a 6 period there is very little wiggle room for a student to get in all their required classes, not to mention a couple of advanced classes.

Maybe instead of charging for a 6th period, we should start charging fees for optional things, like AP classes, running start, Marine Bio, IB classes, and the such???

WenD said...

Peon: I think you're overlooking the point. Another Broad resident, with a law degree no less, started with SPS the same year that schools were closed. Carter was one of MGJ's Broad acquisitions. Like Brad and Jessica and so many others, their generous pay could've paid for Kindy for hundreds of families. It didn't. Kindy is a choice, but the incompetence of Broadie staff is at the heart of yet another HQ screw up. A highly paid screw up.

Melissa Westbrook said...

There are fees associated with AP and Running Start and IB as well as science lab fees.

Saying that full-day kindergarten is akin to day-care is somewhatinsulting to the teachers who teach it. I think the majority of 5 year-olds DO need it and not just for "day care."

dan dempsey said...

I am with Emeraldkity,

K-3 is far more important to prepare students for school success than high school.

Stu said...

Anyone ever do the math associated with full-day k? What would full-day actually cost the district, after the state pays for the half-day?

stu

whittier07 said...

Stu:

I asked Sherry Carr that question back in January - was there a document that detailed the cost of full day K? She replied that "the rationale for setting the fee was discussed on two occasions in public work sessions with the Board during the 2009-10 school year". When I asked again if the total amount was ever determined she stated that my question was "at a level of detail with those questions that I can’t answer" and forwarded my e-mail to 'Duggan' with a head's up that he was really busy so it might take awhile for him to reply.

Never received an e-mail back.

Sherry did confirm this information as the amount the district was expecting to collect:

4508 (Total Kindergarteners)
- 1915 (Kindergarten Families with waivers)
- 538 (FRL Waivers)
= 2055 Kindergarten Families paying $2070 annually into the Pay for K system.

This would generate payments totaling $4,253,850.

Could be enough, could be too much ... I don't think the district has any idea.

Stu said...

So, basically, they're saying that it costs around $945/year per student to pay for the "other half" of the kindergarten day but, since there 2453 kids with waivers, that cost is entirely paid for by the 2055 that can afford to pay $2070 per year? (Maybe "afford to pay" is the wrong phrase . . . "families that miss the waiver cut off" seems a better fit.)

stu

anonymous said...
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anonymous said...

I think you are wrong about fees for AP, IB and running start Melissa. SPS does not collect or charge any fees for those classes at all. There are fees for taking the AP or IB tests, and there can be lab fees, art supply fees, etc., but those fees do not go to SPS. SPS does not charge students to take these classes. And I don't believe they should. I'm just making the point that if you consider charging families for a 6 period day, and sports, then you should also consider charging for AP, IB and running start too.

Charlie Mas said...

I could see charging for AP if AP cost the District more than any other class. But how does European History AP cost any more than World History II? The costs - a classroom and a teacher - are the same.

Stu said...

I'm just making the point that if you consider charging families for a 6 period day, and sports, then you should also consider charging for AP, IB and running start too.

Yeah, I'm missing the point of this too, Peon. Having a 6th period costs the district money. The original point was that, if they're charing for full-day k, which costs the district money, then why not the 6th period? Throwing AP, IB, and other "classes" doesn't meet the same standard in that they do not use ADDITIONAL funds. If a student wasn't taking AP Science, that student would still be taking up space in a science class . . . room + teacher = cost.

stu

Melissa Westbrook said...

Who do you think the lab fees go to? It goes to the school.

I didn't say the AP or IB or Running Start fees go to SPS; I said there WERE already fees attached to them.

I still don't see your point about charging for the most rigorous classes. Why them?

Jan said...

I agree with Peon here. For the record, I think we SHOULD pay for all day K for families that want it, but Peon is right. There are many kids for whom it is too much (or whose time would be better spent at home, doing things in a more self directed way) - his/hers and one of mine, as well. But I concede. For many kids, especially those in non-english speaking homes, or homes without books or reasonable child care, most of those kids would do better in school all day.

But for high schoolers, we are looking at giving them the TRANSCRIPTS to get into college. For many colleges, it simply, flatly cannot be done in a 5 period day. If I had to choose between funding a sixth period of high school, or all day K, I would fund the 6th period for high school.

NEXT, I would fund all day K for kids identified at risk of being behind in first grade without extra time.

And as my third priority, I would fund for the rest of the K kids.

And I would do ALL this before I would fund most curriculum coaches, most "consumable curricula," at least half of the current cost of MAP, and the top quarter to half of the salaries of the top echelon of downtown staff.

Jet City mom said...

If I had to choose between funding a sixth period of high school, or all day K, I would fund the 6th period for high school.

If you are going to break it down like that- it is even more clear.
We are a K-12 district
our first obligation is to get students through high school graduation.

My money is better spent on a kindergartener preparing them for the academic & social skills they will need to be successful in school at the beginning, than on a high schooler who wants to attend a competitive college.

anonymous said...
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anonymous said...
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anonymous said...

C'mon Melissa. Lets compare apples to apples, OK. The fees for pay for K pay for service rendered (The TEACHER and classroom), not lab fees and art supplies as you are talking about for AP, IB and running start.

As to your question "why them?" in reference to paying for advanced classes in HS, I'd say, why not them? If we expect families to pay for K, a 6 period day, and sports, why wouldn't we expect them to pay for AP/IB and Running start too? The things that may be at the top of one persons list may be at the bottom of another persons list.

AP/IB/Running start classes are optional. Students don't have to take them. If they choose to take these classes or programs, and they paid a fee for them (that went to SPS), the fee could be used to fund other things - like a 6 period day.

And FYI, it may not be to far fetched of am idea either. I heard on the news the other day that as part of the budget cuts we are going to start passing some of the running starts fees on to parents in the future.

Betsy said...

Peon, you are basically saying that public education should not be held to a high standard, but just provide the basics. That is not acceptable.

GreyWatch said...

I think the push for academic readiness in kindergarten and pre-K can be counterproductive. I don't know what the research says, so I'm probably wrong, but our experience in all day K was that my son hated school by 1st grade. And the mandatory homework assignments every night didn't help.

All day kindergarten can be great if done well, but 5 year olds need to move and play more than they probably are. This is one reason there is probably a trend to hold kids back a year.

anonymous said...
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anonymous said...

Greywatch, we experienced the same thing in full day K - with both of our boys. They were bright, and excited to be at school, but sitting in a classroom of 26 kids, focusing, for 6 hours a day, then doing homework at night was just overwhelming for them. They would get home from school over stimulated and exhausted, and would fall apart doing homework. And we were not alone - there were many families experiencing the same thing.

I'm sure there are some 5 year olds that are ready for full day K, so I'm glad it is an option.

I would hope that the families that opt for full day do so because their kids are truly ready for it and not because the district is pushing to make all classes full day K (which makes it awkward and inconvenient to pull your kid out half day), or because they need child care.

There is such a strong push for academic readiness in kindergarten (closing the achievement gap, NCLB?), that I fear we sometimes overlook the social/emotional needs of our 5 year olds.

Stu said...

Wow . . don't know which school your kids went to. Our son did full day k, had a great teacher and a great time, but there was no homework. Giving homework to a kindergartener is insane; the whole point of kindergarten is preparing them to learn, covering some basics, and getting them used to socialization. Other than something like "pick a flower" or "find a leaf" or "bring in a book" or something like that, there shouldn't be any homework for a kindergartener.

stu

Anonymous said...

The state is in the midst of passing new graduation requirements that mandate 24 credits to graudate. 6 credits per year x 4 years = 24 credits. No margin for error. Students can no longer afford to fail even a single class and graduate on time.

Yet they only fund a 5 period day.

According to this formula, the state can be interpreted to have made the expectation that students will graduate from High School in 5 years because 5 periods x 5 years = 25 credits.

Oh...and let's cut the funding a little while we're at it.

When you whip the horse twice as hard and feed it half as much, you get more work out of the horse--but only in the short run. In the long run, the horse dies.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I wasn't arguing the Pay for K versus 6 day period.

I was merely pointing out that yes, there are fees associated with AP, IB and Running Start as well as other associated fees with art and science courses.

"AP/IB/Running start classes are optional."

Not if you want to get into college which I thought was the point.

anonymous said...
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Demand Accountability said...

Will someone be fired for this gross incompetence?

It is time for REAL accountability.

We can no longer accept incompetence within the walls of the John Stanford center.

The success of students is dependent upon resources. The JSS is failing our students- miserably.

Yet, business goes on as usual.

Enfield wants to restore public trust; let's see substantial leadership to address incompetence.

The Seattle Times reports a Garfield coach was fired for not requiring Pay for Play from various students.

Yet, the program hadn't been implemented.

Go figure.

anonymous said...

It's true that there are some colleges that are so selective they only take kids who took advanced classes in high school, have a 4.0GPA, and are the valedictorians of their class. But there are also plenty of colleges (plenty!!) that will take average students, with average grades (b's and even c's), that did not take any advanced classes in HS at all. And let's not discount community college as a viable option too. They offer fantastic transfer programs. Students do not HAVE to take AP/IB/RS to get into college.

Just like not all 5 year olds are ready for a full 6 hour kindergarten day, not all HS students are ready for college level classes. Taking college level classes should not be an expectation, and kids should not be pressured into taking them for fear of not getting into college. There is nothing wrong with high school students, doing high school level work.

Glad we have advanced classes for the kids who really need them, are ready for them, but lets stop perpetuating the "must take AP" in HS to get into a college hype. It's simply not true.

Maureen said...

AP/IB/Running start classes are optional. Students don't have to take them.

It's my understanding that it's not uncommon for GHS students to be told that they have to enroll in Runnng Start in order to get the courses they need to graduate. (Because not enough sections of the class can be offered at Garfield.)
Maybe someone else can confirm or refute that?

Here's a link to the Garfield Coach Article Demand Accountability referenced.

Here's a link to the August 23rd 2010 press release announcing Cordell Carter's appointment to head athletics (among other things). Does anyone know when the fee increase was approved? Cntl F doesn't see it in the Board Agenda Archives for 09-10 or 10-11.

Maureen said...

Oh and of course, AP Human Geography and AP English Comp/Lit are not optional at Roosevelt at least.

Robyn said...

Whittier07 or anyone else who knows, what's the difference between the 1915 families with waivers and the 538 FRL waivers? Are the 1915 waivers 1/2 day kids?

This argument becomes what Stu points out - I am paying $2070 for my kid to subsidize those getting waivers. The district needs to cover that and I need to pay $945. That is absolutely unacceptable.

To Greywatch and Peon - You should have sent your kids to a legit 1/2 day program. My daughter who is in K now thinks it is a joke. She has a homework packet due weekly that she finishes in 5 minutes. She wants more! I would also say this is true for the vast majority of the 54 kids in K at her school.

Like someone else said, I don't know where your kids went to school, but they sure don't focus for 6 hours a day. I think the teacher said actual instruction time was less than 2 hours. With "standardized curriculum" I have a hard time believing your experience was much different.

another mom said...

"But there are also plenty of colleges (plenty!!) that will take average students, with average grades (b's and even c's), that did not take any advanced classes in HS at all."

Really? Name those four year institutions please and then look at the high schools where those so-called "average" students graduated. Mercer Island HS, Bainbridge HS, and Lakeside anyone? While it is true that colleges and universities consider factors outside of a transcript, I would bet money that the single most important piece of information in gaining admittance to college is a student's transcript. And what does that transcript need to reflect? Well, that would be academic rigor. You might disagree with AP and IB, but colleges understand what they represent on a prospective student's record. Honors, and standard curricular offerings- not so much- due to the variation from school to school, district to district. Unless the particular high school of an applicant has a known track record, don't count on that average student being admitted.

Yes, all day kindergarten is important for many children and should be offered. But we should not be pitting one group against another. And in this case the needs of high school students should not be considered any more or less important than those of 5 yr olds.

anonymous said...
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Maureen said...

what's the difference between the 1915 families with waivers and the 538 FRL waivers?

I'm pretty sure that one group reflects the kids at schools that are poor enough to offer free all day K to everyone (poor or not) and the other group reflects the FRL kids who are enrolled at schools where everyone else pays for K so need to get individual waivers. (Not sure which number is which.)

As far as subsidizing poor kids. From what I understand, there is a state grant that pays for free all day K at the (18 I think) poorest schools in the District. So people who pay are just subsidizing the poor kids who are enrolled in the other schools (though obviously not just their own school). I'm not sure if the number of schools that offer free all day K to everyone is determined by the state grant, or if there are additional schools that have to be covered by the fee SPS parents pay.

anonymous said...

"Really? Name those four year institutions please and then look at the high schools where those so-called "average" students graduated." "

Way to many to list. Talk to your HS counselor, they can point you in the right direction, or go to one of the college board websites, like the Princeton Review. There is a college for everybody. Not all colleges are full with waitlists. That is hype. There is plenty of space, at plenty of colleges, for the average student. And many colleges (even popular ones) take a more holistic approach to admissions, like Evergreen, whose freshman class had an average GPA of 3.17 in HS. Some colleges do not consider SAT or ACT scores at all. And some will even take transfer students with GED's.

If you don't take advanced classes and don't have a super high GPA you have less choice about which college you can go to, but you CAN still go to college.

And, Maureen, I HATE that AP classes are mandatory for all kids at some high schools. I hadn't heard about Garfield, but I had heard about Roosevelt, and now Hale is requiring AP LA11 and LA12. It is wrong on so many levels. It sets struggling students up for failure, since they do not receive any extra support, and at the same time it can be watered down enough that students who truly are ready for the rigor do not get it. AP should always be an option, not a requirement.

Community College and UW Alum said...

5 minutes of searching came up with these colleges

Bellevue College: 18 years old, HS grad or GED

Central Washington University: 28 admissions index and 3.0. I used their form, and calculated that a3.0 and 1100 SAT is an admissions index of 34. If you don't meet that, write an essay and they may let you in anyway.

Hayward State University (California) out of state requirements. GPA of 3.61 or higher, no test scores needed, automatic admission. 2.75 GPA and 1300 SAT, or 3.0 GPA and 1110 SAT.

And, of course, you are automatically discounting every single community college in the country and their very successful record of transferring students to 4 year colleges, including UW.

Anonymous said...

The lack of a 6th period, access to a variety of electives and lack of rigor are what sent our family to private middle and high school. Asking parents to pay for AP/IB will only flush more families into private schools.

Seattle Public Schools needs to serve ALL the kids in this District, not just the struggling ones. They need to have advanced classes and variety available to every kid—whether they qualify for AP or not.

I realize that money is one of the problems, but the bloated CA devours more than its share, starving the actual schools. Seattle will continue to have a high rate of private school families as long as SPS ignores the average to somewhat-above-average kid who wants to go to college.

SolvayGirl (blogger also losing my log-in)

Anonymous said...

And Peon...perhaps my kid and others want more than community college. They need to have the credits and courses to give them the choice. Public school should be giving EVERY kid who wants them the tools they need to get into the college of their ability/choice.

If you're paying attention to the news, the rate of transfers is predicted to decrease considerably over the next few years because of budget constraints.

Bellevue College only offers a select variety of degrees; it cannot compare to a full-service , 4-year college like the U or WSU.

I want my child to have choice—not have that choice restricted because the District/State can't provide what she needs. Hence, we live close to the bone to spend our own money (with no desire for vouchers, etc.) to get her the education she needs to have options open to her as an adult. I know I am not alone.

SG

Horizontal Aggression said...

Horizontal aggression results when individuals feel powerless.

Why are folks fighting over Pay for K and 6th period HS? We actually need 7 periods of HS.

Instead of fighting with each other; why not hold the state responsible for fulfilling it's paramont duty to amply fund education?

The state is failing it's duty to amplyt fund ed. This is where fight needs to take place.

anonymous said...
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anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

And Peon...perhaps my kid and others want more than community college. They need to have the credits and courses to give them the choice."

That's great SG. No argument here. Not sure why you felt the need to state that? I never said SPS should not offer advanced classes, or that all kids should go to community college.

What I said was:

A) if we are considering paying for a 6 period day, full day K, sports, and various other things, why not consider paying for advanced classes too?

B) Advanced classes should be optional, not mandatory.

C) you don't have to take advanced classes to get into all colleges.

What classes do you think your child must have to get into a 4 year university that SPS does not offer, SG? Have you looked at any data about where SPS kids go to college? They seem to be extremely competitive, and continue to get in to top notch colleges all over the country.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the state is failing its duty to amply fund education. The state has been found to be failing this constitutional duty (see Judge Erlick's ruling in McCleary et al v. State of WA).

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2010/02/04/2010985553.pdf

What did the state then do? Appeal the decision...

http://www.wasupremecourtblog.com/tags/mccleary-et-al-v-state/

Oompah

Horizontal Aggression said...

Oompah,

Yes, and the cycle persists...leaving our next generation without skills for success.

Our kids need and deserve so much more...career paths, teachers with less than 150 students etc.

Community College and UW Alum said...

The broader point here is that 4-year-university, particularly "competetive" 4-year univerisity, is not the best path to a prodctive or happy life for an awful lot of people. Office jobs are not the only road to financial stability, and are soul-crushing for many. And yet, we promote that as the only model of success with things like Core 24.

I agree we should fund full-day K, and 6 periods of high school, but not because you need it to get into a "good" college. We should treat vocational ed on the same footing with college prep, so that our graduates who want to work right out of high school have a way to do that in jobs that pay decently. Both kinds of classes (college prep and voc prep) are optional, and no one should be required to take either. And, if you change your mind later, there is always bellevue college or CWU or a whole bunch of other perfectly fine, non-elite colleges.

Anonymous said...

My child did not have a lot of public options. We live in the RBHS area—she's a sophomore now so RBHS was not any kind of option when she was an 8th grader looking. She could have gotten into Sealth, but they don't have much of an arts program and she's an arts kid. If we had lived near Garfield, Ballard or Roosevelt, she would have had more of the options she needed. We don't; she didn't.

She wasn't enough of a self-starter for NOVA. We considered Center; then the District talked of closing it. Then they moved the principal. After having spent her elementary years in a school that had NINE principals in SIX years, I was fed up.

Add in the too-large class sizes, all the shenanigans downtown, scandal, testing—testing—testing, etc. and we decided it was worth the sacrifice to send her to private school.

And, BTW...we're not shooting for ivy league—just want her to have all options open to her. She's got a lot of growth to come over the next two years and I don't want her hands tied because of a lack of education offerings.

But I am a strong proponent of public school, vote for funding, and don't expect help from the government since we chose to go private. I was just not ready to take the chance on my only child if I didn't have to.

SG

Anonymous said...

AND BTW...at the time RBHS offered only ONE language—French (not sure what they offer now). Most 4-yr colleges want to see three years of a language. It's tough if your child has no interest in the ONE language the school offers.

SG

Stu said...

But back to the main point . . . other than, perhaps, a materials fee or two, which of course we could pass on to the families, it doesn't cost more to offer the AP classes. The same number of students are being taught in the same number of rooms with the same number of teachers; they're just divided up a little differently. That's different than the Pay for K, which actually takes up more rooms and teachers.

That said, it's insane that families have to pay 2000 for Kindergarten because the district offers waivers to those who can't afford it. (Don't jump on me . . the waivers aren't insane, the fact the other families have to subsidize those waivers is the issue.)

Lastly, paying for sports or extra music clases is not the same because they are not required activities; all students are required to take science, math, english, etc . . . regardless of how you split them up class-wise.

stu