Palo Alto school board members tonight will discuss results of an alumni survey and hear an analysis of 2013 SAT and Advanced Placement test results.
The testing data is consistent with results from earlier years showing stellar performance by district students as a whole. Ethnic breakdowns present a more nuanced picture, with African-American and Hispanic students underrepresented in the ranks of AP and SAT test takers.
In a survey of alumni from the Gunn and Palo Alto high schools' class of 2012, about 90 percent of the 318 respondents said they felt "somewhat" or "very" academically prepared for college.
In comments, respondents said they would have liked more preparation in writing, specifically in writing papers other than five-paragraph essays. The survey also identified science lab reports as an area of concern, according to a summary of "key findings" prepared by the district. But the summary provided neither the specific alumni comments nor details about the exact nature of the concerns.
In other business tonight, the board will hear from the volunteer Citizens Oversight Committee charged with tracking spending under the $378 million "Strong Schools" facilities bond approved by voters in 2008.
In its fifth annual report, the committee said district so far has spent about 44 percent of the money, resulting in new classroom, library and athletic facilities and other improvements to the community's 17 campuses.
About 45 percent of the overall allocation has gone to the district's two high schools, 13 percent to the three middle schools and 26 percent to the 12 elementary schools, with 16 percent still not allocated.
"Major projects have now been delivered at all five secondary school campuses as well as two elementary school expansions," committee chairman Todd Collins said in an Oct. 9 letter to the board.
"Additional projects are slated for completion in the coming year at Palo Alto High School and Duveneck Elementary School."
Also tonight, the school board will discuss a recommended $1.9 million in proposed new spending for additional teachers in the secondary schools and reading specialists in the elementary schools, among other initiatives.
"Since 2012-13 the district's financial position has improved," budget officer Cathy Mak said, describing a "stakeholder" consultation process that led to the specific proposals for additional spending in the district's $170 million operating budget for this year.
Tonight's meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.