School performance awards will be smaller than anticipated

SACRAMENTO - The rewards for the more than 4,000 public schools that met Gov. Gray Davis' improvement targets on this year's statewide student test will be smaller than originally promised.

Because so many schools qualified for the awards by boosting their Academic Performance Index rankings, qualifying schools will probably get only $68 per student, says Department of Education spokesman Doug Stone.

The law creating the Governor's Performance Award said schools that met their API growth targets would get up to $150 per student.

Separate rewards for employees at high performing schools are not likely to cut, however.

The API, based entirely on the students' performance on the state Standardized Testing and Reporting exam, ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1000. An API of 660 for middle schools and 650 for high schools corresponds to half the students in the school scoring at or above the national average mark on the test.

The state on Thursday released its slightly revised API scores, adding the 470 schools that didn't get APIs in October. Most of those schools were late in receiving APIs because they had to correct demographic information about their students, such as the number of students who are members of different ethnic groups or are eligible for free- and reduced-price lunches.

A total of $677 million in rewards will be distributed to schools that improved their APIs by at least five percent of the difference between their 1999 score and Davis' goal of 800 and met two other requirements:

- Improved scores for subgroups such as poor students.

- Tested at least 95 percent of students in elementary schools and 90 percent of students in high schools.

In March or April, they will get about $68 per student. An additional one-time bonus will also go to those schools and their employees. That figure will be about $750 per student to be spent on employee bonuses plus the same amount to be spent by the school's governance team for any one-time purpose.

The third part of the reward program will go to teachers in the low-performing schools where APIs improved the most in the state. The 1,000 teachers in the schools with the largest growth will get $25,000 each; the 3,750 teachers at the next highest schools will get $10,000 teach; and the next 7,500 will get $5,000 each.

Schools eligible for that reward will be notified early next year how to apply for it, says the department.

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On the Net: The revised API reports are at

http://api.cde.ca.gov

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