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BLOG: CUSD Financial Crisis, a Student's Solution

As Capo Unified faces millions more in cuts, one place that has been overlooked could actually bring about substantial savings.

At a time when our school district faces budget cuts ranging from , one cut that would be relatively easy to make has been erroneously overlooked. 

AP classes are college-level classes in which high school teachers literally teach to the test. Starting with homework assigned over summer vacation, and ending with the AP test in May, these classes provide college credit for the average 60 percent of students who pass these tests with a 3 or higher (out of 5).

So why bring up college level classes in the budget debate? Well, after AP testing has concluded, the classes are basically useless. Of course some teachers may assign projects and assignments, but for the most part, the rest of the year is basically a film festival. So why then, must we continue to attend these classes? 

The time between the last AP test (May 18th) and the last day of school (June 20th) is 22 school days. I call this time the "AP Film Festival," but no matter how you slice it, it's wasted time. Most AP teachers usually use this time to either catch up or get ahead with their regular classes. Most students use this time to catch up on homework, sleep or both. These activities can be done without each party's presence.

So how would this proposal save the district money? The most glaring example is the money that would no longer be paid to the teachers for these classes. As stated before, most teachers already use this time as another "prep period." And since most of these AP teachers are higher on the pay scale, savings are increased by substantial margins. The second, but somewhat minimal savings impact, would be in energy bills for these classes, as the days are closer to summer. 

The implementation of this proposal would be relatively simple to achieve through administrative policy changes in the district, and maybe even the nation. First would be an exemption to AP students in regards to the 6- and 5-class minimum rules for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Second would be a policy change in allowing credit allotment for students of these shortened classes.

In reality, the only obstacle to implementation would be the negotiations between the district and the teachers' union, which unfortunately could turn ugly.

I have to admit, I did have reservations about writing this post, considering possibility of some form of reprisal from teachers or administration. Whether you agree or disagree with my proposal is entirely up to you, but you must remember that cuts will happen, and at this point there can be no sacred cows.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Penny Arévalo June 11, 2012 at 07:19 PM
LOL, not by Patch. Patch does not pay its bloggers.
Alberto Barrera June 12, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Trust me, if I was getting paid to do this, you would see WAY more of these(but youth unemployment is coming up later, so we'll have plenty of time for discussion on that). I probably should have disclosed the fact that I've had a bad case of Senioritis since freshman year; my gains from furlough days would be extra vacation time. Looking at the proposals, I would say that both are flawed in that they are applied incorrectly. Most high school classroom sizes are capable of adding more students(aside from intervention classes), the district could do a 1.5 student increase for younger students, while high school classes could take the 2 student increase. Pay freezes should not last only six months, we are in times of austerity. Just as the classroom increases, furlough days should be not applied equally. We could technically end the school year after STAR testing(which was during the last week of AP testing), that would be my preference. Since we can all agree that the budget this Friday will be as good as the last one, I might weigh in next week.
Yeparoo June 12, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Thank you for your insight, We can only cross our fingers, pray, rub beads, or carry lucky rabbit's foot (yuck), that the 'adults' in charge will keep an open mind and read your blog. It would appear CA now has a long term math problem and will need to rethink how to approach education. Maybe better use of technology.
College Planner June 28, 2012 at 01:41 PM
As someone who usually deals with the best and brightest, I too am unimpressed by most of the "AP" student merit. IB is another story. AP on steroids...
Alberto Barrera June 28, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Very few courses in the district are IB classes unfortunately.

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