Atlanta Public School Board of Education member Byron Amos convened a meeting of the Audit Committee to review the recently released Equity Audit. The report was prepared by Dr. C. Kevin Fortner who is an Assistant Professor of Research Measurement and Statistics at Georgia State University.
Dr. Rubye Sullivan, APS Director of Research and Evaluation, made a presentation summarizing the results of the Audit. Her presentation was articulate and she is very knowledgeable about the topics discussed. During her presentation, she cautioned the Audit Committee that the report was a “snapshot in time” and additional work would be necessary to evaluate the extensive amount of data presented in the report. Additionally, she indicated that all of the data found in the report was aggregated from various APS systems or other APS sources, but that APS did not have a mechanism to pull the data together in one place to evaluate more current information.
Dr. Fortner was asked about the validity of the $15,000 per student spending on charter school students. He indicated that the graph presented (page 23 of the report) was based on an allocation methodology he had selected and that there were alternative allocation methodologies that could be used. When pressed by certain Board members, he agreed to provide the Committee with a revised version of the graph that did not allocate any central administration costs to the charter schools since the charter schools are responsible for funding their own administrative costs. As noted in yesterday’s post (see here), the spending per student for charter schools will likely decrease by approximately $5,000 and the amount will be reallocated to the traditional school per student spending presented in the graph.
The Audit Committee did not take any action on the report, but noted that it was receiving public comments and that other Board committees were also evaluating the information presented in the report. Chairman of the Board English also noted that the Board would be holding future work sessions to better define the Board’s goals to reduce resource and other inequities in the district.
I would also caution readers of the report to not jump to any conclusions from the data presented. The report contains little or no evaluation of the data presented and there is a need for extensive additional analysis prior to developing policy initiatives to reduce inequities in the system. Additionally, the reports presentation on financial resource allocations across the district is wholly inadequate and a much more extensive assessment should be prepared prior to reaching any conclusions.