The Atlanta Public School Board of Education will hold two important meetings today. The first will be a combined meeting between the City Council and the Board to review the $19 million Beltline debt dispute. The meeting will be held at the downtown CLL office at 10:00 a.m. The dispute has been in the headlines recently and the remarks coming from the Mayor have at times been confrontational and insulting. For more background on the dispute, see here and here.
The Audit Committee will also meet today at 3:00 p.m. to begin a review of the Equity Audit released several weeks ago. See here for the summary results of the Equity Audit and here for the entire 1,400 page report.
There is a lot of information presented in the Audit but the report lacks any real analysis of the data. As a result, it is easy to jump to conclusions that are simply misguided. As an example, see the analysis completed by Ed Johnson here in which a simple reading of the data leads to one conclusion, but a more extensive analysis leads to a very different conclusion.
Additionally, the financial information presented in the Audit is clearly misstated and needs to be corrected. The Audit presents a graph (page 23) that indicates that per student spending for charter schools is approximately $15,000 – this number is significantly overstated and is the result of an improper allocation of APS administrative cost to the charter schools. My estimate is that the charter school spending per student closer to $10,000 and each of the traditional school regions shown would increase by approximately $1,250. A more detailed analysis of traditional versus charter school per student spending is shown in the chart below (based on FY13 budget data).
It will be interesting to see if the Audit Committee accepts the data at face value or if they begin digging deeper into the data presented in an effort to develop solid conclusions that can guide future policy decisions.