PAUSD Mandarin Immersion Feasibility Study available now!
Original post made
by Nico, Fairmeadow,
on Dec 8, 2006
The Mandarin immersion feasibility study is available online at:
The feasibility of PAUSD adding a new Mandarin dual immersion program will be discussed at the school board meeting next Tuesday evening. Here are some of the findings from the study:
1. A Mandarin dual-immersion program is consistent with PAUSD's mission and goals, programs and instructional strategies.
2. Start-up costs for the program will be $10,950 (which I think can be raised by fundraising, for example by parent donations/bake sales, or grants). Ongoing costs for the comparable with PAUSD norms.
3. PAUSD can recruit and hire the staff they need to implement the program. (Staff means mainly bilingual teachers and a principal, both resources may already exist in the district and may not be new hires.)
4. Necessary curriculum and assessment materials, exist or can easily be created for the program. The MI program will adhere to PAUSD best practices and standards.
5. Student selection will largely follow the existing Spanish Immersion program's process. The program will be open by lottery to all PAUSD students. Attrition should not be an issue based on research on other MI programs.
6. Location will be a challenge for the Attendance Area Review Group, who will make site recommendations in January 2007. Their priority is to find MI a home without displacing any neighborhood kids.
This study will be discussed at the school board meeting on Tuesday, December 12. PAUSD Board of Education meeting
starts at 7:00PM
25 Churchill Ave. Palo Alto, CA
The meeting room is in the way back. Drive to the back of the driveway and it is right before the tennis courts.
I am very excited about the prospect of PAUSD adding this great new program! After reading the feasibility study, I am optimistic that it can and will be implemented with PAUSD's usual high level of quality.
If you want to show your support for the program, come to the meeting wearing red!
Like this comment
Posted by Jamie
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 9, 2006 at 7:06 pm
1000 x $10,000 = $10,000,000
Potential increase in PAUSD yearly operating cost if we increased by 1000 students. Enrollment growth is VERY risky in PAUSD which is a basic aid district. We currently spend about $10,000 per pupil per year.
OK, you say, not all 1000 will automatically come. But how many will apply?
If you throw 1000 private school attendees (+ interest from outside palo alto) into the lottery pot, along with the 49 they mustered through what the feasibility claims is a very broad community support network, how many of the 240 spots will be filled with new incremental PAUSD enrollment?
To make the numbers easy, lets say 200?
(I think that's too low, there should be a very low probability of choosing all 49 of the 49 thrown into the pot of 1049) - Its a probability problem - I'm not sure how to solve - anyone out there statistics person?
But if we say 200 spots are filled with new growth x $10,000 = $2,000,000 increase in yearly operating costs for PAUSD.
And some will come and wait in the wings... And some will come and get on waiting lists with the expectation of showing overwhelming support for the program, expecting an imminent increase in the size of the program to 4 strands. A fair guess is that the increase in new enrollment will be ~at least~ 240 ($2,400,000). We can argue about the numbers, but its reasonable to say the yearly operating cost increase for new enrollment is material, and likely exceeds $2M per year
Even if we are WAY conservative - and cut that in half - $1,000,000? Cut by a fourth 250,000 per year? These numbers are big.
I recall a board meeting in June where the board required a group requesting an expansion of the J bus line, who said they could make it cost neutral by selling bus passes and they already had folks lined up for those, for a guarantee, an indemnification against the risk of increase in cost to PAUSD for $3,500! (Three Thousand Five Hundred Dollars).
Cost per year per pupil in PAUSD is already low relative to our benchmark peers per the PIE Study. The assumption here is that fund raising, (PIE, PTAs and and other measures) would have to step WAY up to cover this new enrollment growth (surely PACE isn't agreeing to cover this risk), or else we risk dropping per pupil spending even further and putting OTHER PROGRAMS at risk.
So much for the 13th school solution. AAAG didn't even take in to consideration the bump in enrollment growth from this program in their projections. I asked two AAAG members at last weeks meeting who were vocal proponents of a choice program as a way to relieve enrollment pressure in overenrolled schools (they approached me) - they said NO, the AARG did not consider new enrollmemnt growth for MI).
So we potentially fill this program with entirely new enrollment, and don't even solve ~any~ of the BOUNDARY issues they thought they could solve with the choice model!
And if the numbers get as high as 1000... Forget the 13th school, you'll need about THREE more schools... (at $7M a pop).
This has the potential for getting VERY risky, VERY fast, and VERY easily. And no way to predict the impact?
I don't see how the board will be able to ignore this risk.
The thing they don't make clear is that other districts who bring this program in do so to HELP enrollment growth, either to fill up school sites at risk of closure, to help a large population of ELL students (ie: to help close the achievement gap), or because enrollment increases HELP their bottom line - those would be districts who are NOT BASIC AID districts which get incremental dollars from the state per pupil. Its well known that these programs attract incremental enrollment.
This is not a 'no harm done' program. This will have a serious financial impact for our district. The board discussion on this will be fascinating. Utterly illuminating.
Wolf dismisses this risk as 'natural' for our excellent schools to attract enrollment. Well of course we attract enrollment and its causing us capacity problems at the current rate, and that's all been covered by the AARG enrollment projections. By the way, at the AARG discussion last week the demographer made quite a point of how Asian families tend to bring higher pupil density per household than others, particularly first generation. So this blows the demographer density projections over the top???
This is new growth, a jump up from what we naturally already incur, and there really no good reason at all to go out of our way to worsen the enrollment growth problem.