I have two major concerns about the part of the grant that was approved for the Advance Baton Rouge organization:
- By all accountability measures Advance Baton Rouge's performance in managing these five schools has been a complete disaster. The performance of these schools has regressed significantly since the takeover by the charter school group. Only one of the 5 schools has shown a slight improvement in student high stakes scores. The composite scores of the 5 schools has changed as follows since the takeover: English/Language Arts performance has dropped from 33% basic or above before the takeover to only 23% basic or above in Spring 2010. Math has dropped from 29% basic or above to only 24% in 2010 and Science has dropped from 17% basic or above to only 12%. In comparison the state average for each of these three subject areas are ELA: 66% basic or above, Math: 65% basic or above and Science: 59% basic or above. How can such a huge commitment of our tax dollars be made to an organization that has shown no competence in running the schools entrusted to it?
- The size of the grant to this group is totally out of proportion to other school systems receiving similar grants. For example, one school system serving over 4,000 students will be getting a grant of 7.2 million to implement the same TAP program while the Advance Baton Rouge group will receive 13.3 million dollars to serve only 1,600 students. This amounts to over $8,000 per student. It is over 4 times as much per student as the regular school system will receive.