University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

April Fool’s Day

In OWL-OEP Weekly Links on April 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Happy April! This week, there has been little fooling around as we’ve been busy preparing for next week’s release of the OEP’s 2010 Report Card. Released annually, the Report Card highlights the condition of Arkansas education in several areas of interest to parents, educators, and policymakers. In past years (click here to see last year’s report card), we’ve examined not only test scores, but also such topics as graduation rates, school accountability, and teacher pay. This year, we update some areas we’ve examined previously and introduce a few new topics. We highlight the most recent state benchmark results, as well as updating results for end-of-course exams and state ACT results. New to this year’s Report Card, we examine achievement gaps between various subgroups on the reading portion of the NAEP, levels of educational attainment for Arkansans as a whole, patterns of education spending for Arkansas and surrounding areas, and changes in the demographics of Arkansas students over the last ten-plus years.

Stay tuned early next week for our release of the OEP 2010 Report Card. We hope you will find it informative and useful. Have a great weekend!

News from Around the Natural State

School funding Stalemate Averted

Gov. Mike Beebe and legislators reached an agreement to avert a potential House-Senate stalemate over school funding. The House and Senate passed different versions of legislation setting minimum state aid to school districts. Beebe supports the House version, House Bill 1921, which calls for a 2 percent across-the-board increase in per-student funding for next fiscal year. The Senate version, SB 821, provides slightly less of an increase in per-student funding and allocates additional funding for districts with high transportation costs. However, the governor also said that anything less than full 2 percent for every district would be unconstitutional and could lead to a reopening of litigation against the state.

Rogers Schools Offer Buyouts, to Shed 89 Workers Before Fall

The Rogers School District is losing 89 teachers, administrators and other employees before the start of next school year, the result of a one-time buyout program. An estimated 180 employees are expected to take a buyout, saving the district an estimated $4.47 million over eight years. Under the buyout program, teachers and other certified employees with at least five years in the district and 10 years in the state retirement system were eligible for a $40,000 buyout. Classified employees were eligible for a buyout equal to their salary up to $15,000.

 

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  1. I witnessed many buyouts in government and NONE ever achieved the savings programmed. Replacements often started where the former employee was before buyout. It is almost like the retirement perks most citizens in the private sector don’t enjoy, yet pay for.

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