Questions from the forum

By | September 26, 2013

We continue trying to provide answers to as many of the forum questions as we can. Our first question is answered by Chris Hartlove, Chief Financial Officer for CCPS.

Q: What is the CCPS cost/budget for implementation of CCSS over its entire course? Please include sources of funding – federal, state or county. Break down by task or item, such as rewriting curriculum, additional professional development, new instructional materials, technology for assessments, etc. Are there any cost savings anticipated? How does the net cost (after state and federal contributions) compare to what CCPS would have spent on these items without CCSS?

A: The majority of costs related to the transition to and implementation of the common core state curriculum were covered through our department operating budget and existing resources. We have $128,000 budgeted annually (non-restricted state & local dollars) dating back at least 10 years to cover all curriculum work that takes place each year. In the spring, each supervisor is asked to submit a budget for their content area which determines how the money will be allocated in the upcoming year. Over the last 3 years, a large portion of this amount went to English Language Arts and Mathematics; however, needs in other areas were not sacrificed.

Our annual textbook and materials of instruction budget is approximately $1,200,000 (approximately $46 per student, non-restricted state & local dollars). The same process as shared above is followed to determine the needs in each content area at each level. Historically, when needs exceed a realistic annual allocation, we use a phase-in process to spread the costs out over time. We have been able to meet our needs within our existing textbook and materials of instruction budget.

Professional development – again, we have worked within existing resources and time schedules. However, every school in the state has sent a team of 3 teachers with their principals to a 3 day summer academy provided by MSDE. All costs related to this training were covered by MSDE. These academies have provided the school team with professional development related to the CCSS and opportunity to plan school-based professional development to occur throughout the school year at staff meetings, early dismissals, and the annual professional development day built into the calendar. Curriculum supervisors have been able to use their annual professional development day at the beginning of the school year as well as their annual allocation of sub days.

We have supplemented our local funds with Title II (federal money provided to support professional development) and Race to the Top federal funds provided through a state allocation. Each school is able to access approximately $4,000 to support their professional development needs through Title II. The use of these funds vary from school to school depending on their needs; however, it’s likely that most activities supported through Title II, in some way, connected to the common core state standards as English Language Arts and math are typically the focus for professional development at the school level. The Race to the Top funds allocated to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction totaled approximately $250,000. The majority was used to support both curriculum work and professional development.

For the most part, spending for technology has not been significantly impacted as a result of Common Core. The reality is that most of the spending is on technology advancements that we would choose to implement anyway. For example, the wireless project is important moving forward not just for testing but for a plethora of instructional uses. The same holds true for devices. We are deliberately approaching this to find solutions that meet multiple needs and even without Common Core and PARCC, state assessments were relying more and more on online testing. We have supplemented our local funds with the Race to the Top funds allocated to Technology Services, which totaled $265,000, and additional grants from MSDE that support these initiatives.

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