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Remediation Budgets

November 21, 2013

School districts received their allocation notices for two important programs today: the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA) and Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) Remediation. In both cases, the funding hardly covers the need.

The RSA program has been in place since 2006. The stakes are higher than ever now, though. School districts have had two years to adjust to the fact that third graders will be retained for an unsatisfactory score. In 2012-13, districts received no RSA funds. In 2013-14, they just now received them, and less than what was given to them in 2011-12.  The SDE was kind enough to provide a PowerPoint telling them that this is all they get, and that they should spend 25% of the money on professional development for teachers. That and supporting Kindergarten through second grade students will leave hardly anything for direct interventions and summer school.

ACE has also been in place since 2006, and as with RSA, funding is nowhere near matching the need. Along with the allocation notice today, superintendents received this information today.

ACE Remediation Funding Allocations FY14

OK State Dept of Ed sent this bulletin at 11/20/2013 01:24 PM CST

Superintendents:

The State Department of Education is now in the process of allocating state funds for ACE (Achieving Classroom Excellence) remediation dollars, and we want to provide you with details on the process. Allocation were made available on November 19th, and payments will follow shortly.

In June, the State Board of Education approved Fiscal Year 2014 funding for ACE remediation for a statewide total of $8,000,000. These dollars help districts prepare students to meet the testing requirements of ACE, and each district is required to provide remediation and intervention opportunities to students who score Limited Knowledge or Unsatisfactory on ACE exams listed below:

  •     seventh grade reading
  •     seventh grade math
  •     eighth grade reading
  •     eighth grade math
  •     any end-of-instruction exam

Districts are provided with ACE remediation funds based on the number of students who qualify for remediation.  Allocations are made on a per-student basis. Here are some key numbers on this year’s allocation:

  • This year’s statewide count for Limited Knowledge is 79,214 (an increase of 8,458 over last year) .
  • The maximum remediation amount for Limited Knowledge is $180 per student.
  • If allocated at 100%, the total amount for Limited Knowledge is $14,258,520 .
  • Available funding is prorated at approximately 27.89% for $3,977,022.
  • Total count for Unsatisfactory is 60,097 (an increase of 22,348 over last year).
  • Max remediation for Unsatisfactory is $240 per student.
  • If allocated at 100%, the total amount for Unsatisfactory is $14,423,280.
  • Available funding is prorated at approximately 27.89% for $4,022,978.

Attached is a detailed spreadsheet on ACE remediation allocations.

Please do not hesitate to contact the ACE office (405-521-3549) regarding allowable expenditures and the State Aid office (405-521-3460) regarding the funding calculations.

My point here is that as the legislature continues emphasizing reform, they need to pay for the programs that support students. While I don’t love ACE, and I absolutely detest RSA in its current form, I want the funding to follow the mandate.

This deficit is entirely on the legislature. The SDE has asked for huge increases for both programs (172% for ACE, 147% for RSA). These increases need to happen.

Meanwhile, we need to have an honest discussion about the impact of budget cuts on accountability, as Okie Funk discusses today.

As I’ve written before, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has shown that Oklahoma has cut education funding by 23 percent since 2008. That’s a staggering cut. It’s simply indefensible to implement a new draconian ranking system of schools after such a decrease in funding. It’s also obvious that when considered together, the funding cuts and the A to F system represent the culmination of a right-wing agenda to damage the credibility of public education here. It’s a classic case of “starve the beast” ideology.

The beast is starving, serving more students than ever, and answering to more mandates and reforms than I can count.

That has to stop.

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