Tahoe/Truckee school district intends to make Measure A measure up
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; To address an argument that claims the renewal of Measure A would burden taxpayers with higher academic costs that carry no measurable results, school district officials are looking at implementing mandatory college credit testing for all Advanced Placement classes.
Superintendent Steve Jennings presented the idea at a Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board meeting earlier this month.
Jennings told the board that while he acknowledges testing would not allow for complete measurement of the $135 parcel tax renewal and#8212; to be voted on by TTUSD parcel owners in a special March 8 election and#8212; it would provide significant measurement of Measure A funding, since much of it is invested in AP classes.
and#8220;We need to have to some accountability for the expenditure of the funds taxpayers have entrusted us with, so we’re having lots of conversation of how we’re going to include accountability,and#8221; said Jennings.
The testing would cost $87 per student and would allow college credit upon successful completion in a given course, Jennings said.
According to TTUSD, this year there are currently 14 AP sections at Truckee High School and 7 AP sections at North Tahoe High School. The combined enrollment at both schools is 517 students.
Since AP college credit exams are optional, many students opt out of it, Jennings said.
Trustee Gaylan Larson commended Jennings and staff for their initiative to bring AP testing to the board, but said it is important to remember the district has a responsibility to serve all students.
and#8220;I think it’s our responsibility to make sure all our students get properly challenged and educated,and#8221; Larson said. and#8220;I’ve personally been concerned about the ones at the other end of the spectrum who also need to be challenged to fulfill their capability.and#8221;
At the end of the discussion, it was agreed by trustees to explore AP testing further.
In a follow-up interview with the Sierra Sun, Jennings said the idea and#8212; while it is a part of the district’s larger academic goals and#8212; serves to answer concerns from local certified public accountant Don Spano, who questions Measure A’s Citizens Review Committee’s duty to measure academics linked with the funding. Spano penned the argument against approving Measure A, available in the ballot question information provided by Placer County Elections.
and#8220;Other than project status information, this committee and the school district have no duty to publicly and objectively report on how effectively Measure A funds are being used,and#8221; writes Spano.
Trustees were also concerned about the district’s lack of student tracking after students entered college.
Trustee Randy Hill asked if any concrete data exists showing how students performed in their first year of college.
Dave Curry, director of educational services, said nothing currently is in place, but staff is investigating a student tracking system called Cal-PASS that measures student data from elementary school through college.
Jennings said there have been some discussions with former TTUSD students, but nothing more detailed.
After hearing staff response, Hill said he supported finding a specific way to measure student AP progress.
and#8220;It would be nice to come back to the taxpayers a year from now or two years from now and say and#8216;these are the results,’and#8221; Hill said.
Hill added that he views long-term student tracking as a superior way to measure AP student progress and non-AP student progress than through simply administering the AP test.
and#8220;Passing the AP exam might be a wonderful thing but until these kids get into college and start demonstrating the benefits they gain, it’s just another test,and#8221; he said.