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Date Posted: 10:51:09 02/07/11 Mon
Author: Larry
Subject: I see only one thing that looks unusual
In reply to: CharterStarter, Too 's message, "Re: Ivy Prep FTE info for Charter Starter Too" on 08:26:20 02/05/11 Sat

First, a timeline to clear up which numbers I used at what point.

When QBE worksheets were originally published last August, none had amounts for Charter Commission Local Revenue. When I questioned this, Lou told me the Commission was waiting until the schools opened to get an accurate student count. Some time later, the QBE report dated 8/19 (avilable here) was updated with Charter Commission Local Revenue numbers, but the FTE count of 287 was the same as the original report. This is the report I was referencing during our conversation about the 287 count being much different than the “almost 480” students Ivy Prep claims on their web page.

I contacted Lou about this difference and he told me what I tried to get across in my first post – on this report, the Commission based their Local Revenue calculations on the student count filed after the schools opened and the DOE’s QBE calculations (the FTE) were based on previous reports. Lou said the FTE/seat count discrepancy would disappear when the new enrollment report was applied to the QBE calculations.

The current QBE worksheet dated 1/14/2011 (avilable here) shows an FTE count of 471 – the same as the claimed enrollment on Ivy Prep’s web page. There was no need to investigate further because the discrepancy disappeared just as Lou said it would.

Before I get to the unusual looking part, I will again urge caution when using averages because they ignore the enhanced funding for SPED students. When you look at the Total State Funding line (which excludes Commission transactions), you’ll find Ivy Prep averages less than $3300 per student while GSMST averages over $5000 per student. These two charter schools are funded via the same formula used for every public school in the state and the difference lies in the fact the Ivy Prep has over 95% standard ED students (less than 5% SPED), while GSMST has less than 37% standard ED with over 63% qualifying for enhanced SPED funding. This simply cannot be viewed as an inequity in school funding because if the student bodies were reversed, the funding would also be reversed.

Now, about the unusual part – actually there are two related things:

First, the Charter Commission Local Revenue dropped $102,000 between the two above reports, with nearly $99,000 of this amount being returned to GCPS. This strikes me as odd because the Commission waited for a current student count before calculating the 8/19 number, and it seems as if this number shouldn’t have changed between then and the 1/14 report.

Second, Ivy Prep’s enrollment increased by 184 students since last year, but the Charter Commission Local Revenue only increased $466,920 from last year. I don’t want to speculate too much, but last year 70% of Ivy Prep’s students lived in Gwinnett and the Commission deducted over $3900 for each one, with the remaining 30% averaging over $4700 each. IF the Commission used the 471 student count, this averages $2900 per student – far below the smallest number they used for any of the school systems last year. Yes, I’m going to find out what happened since this is a significant change.

Recheck your numbers because, even using an average, Ivy Prep’s QBE formula funding only dropped slightly (the number of SPED students decreased from over 6% to less the 5%) while the Commission Local Revenue appears to have dropped by over $1000 each.

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