A rather expensive development has surfaced on the way to installing Common Core in California’s hundreds of school districts statewide. Officials have figured out that the big government initiative could collectively cost districts $1 billion every year to set up a new statewide testing system supporting the new curriculum.
The question is, who’s going to pay for it? According to the Santa Ana School District, the state, not the district, should foot the bill. Santa Ana along with three other school districts submitted a class action complaint, demanding that California pay for the “next generation” Smarter Balanced Assessments based on national Common Core standards.
The Orange County Register reported that the Santa Ana Unified school district, which consists of 57,000 students, projects $12 million in district costs pertaining to the Common Core tests, which includes $8.1 million for devices, $3.3 million for bandwidth and infrastructure, plus other significant outlays for accessories and training.
Gov. Jerry Brown appointee, H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for California’s Department of Finance, so far has not responded to the claim because it is still being reviewed, the Register reported.
Smarter Balanced testing jettisons paper and pencils used in previous testing and requires computers for grades three through eight and also 11. Santa Ana Unified’s superintendant, Rick Miller, characterized the new development by saying, “This computer thing is a whole different deal than the No. 2 pencil… You have to reimburse the mandate based on that.”
Josh Daniels, a staff attorney for the California School Boards Association, contends that California has a constitutional mandate to satisfy its financial obligations to the districts. “It’s going to be quite expensive… We foresee this as being a significant impact on districts going forward.”
In 2013, California coughed up a whopping $1.25 billion to districts to facilitate Common Core training, instructional materials, and computers. Moreover, last year they gave an additional $26.7 million for high-speed internet. This year $100 million was allocated to school districts for internet needs.
Daniels asserted that’s not going to be enough to satisfy Common Core requirements.