Spring break for some but not for all

Students attending schools in the Kingman Unified School District and Kingman Academy of Learning are off this week for spring break.

However, KUSD campuses will be far from quiet. Work continues on projects being paid from the $80 million bond approved by voters in November 2006.

A memo issued March 4 by Oz Enderby, director of construction, lists just how much work will be in progress this week as follows:

White Cliffs Middle School - Security classroom lockdown and Americans with Disabilities Act hardware installation, plus staff parking lot asphalt demolition and replacement.

Gold Street warehouse - Parking lot asphalt demolition and replacement.

Cerbat Elementary School - HVAC equipment/systems replacement and roofing system replacement.

Kingman High School - Security classroom lockdown/ADA hardware installation, plus HVAC cooling tower sump refurbishment.

Manzanita Elementary School - Security classroom lockdown/ADA hardware installation, plus shade structure installation.

Mt. Tipton School - Shade structure and storage facility installation.

Kingman Middle School - Security classroom lockdown/ADA hardware installation.

District office - Security lockdown/ADA hardware installation, plus roofing system replacement.

After school hours work involving security classroom lockdown/ADA hardware installation also is planned after the break at two schools per week as follows: Cerbat and La Senita the week of March 24; Black Mountain and Hualapai the week of March 31; and Palo Christi and Mt. Tipton the week of April 7.

Work from the first issuance of the bond last spring must be completed by summer, as that is when the $10 million will be used up.

The district Governing Board agreed to a second issuance at its meeting last Tuesday night. However, the $25 million amount recommended by Wanda Hubbard, director of finance, was put on hold until further research is done to ensure accuracy of cost projections.

Independent estimates put Arizona 35th in the nation for high school graduation rates.

That is one bit of data to be found in the Arizona State Card. The Alliance for Excellent Education calls the card "a concise and comprehensive profile of the state's high schools."

Three different graduation rates are listed, indicating the disparity among state-reported rates (76.8 percent), U.S. Department of Education-reported rates (66.8 percent), and independent research estimates (68.4 percent).

Which do you believe? Take your choice.

Roughly 27,700 students failed to graduate from state high schools in 2007. That led to an estimate of $7.2 billion in lost lifetime earnings among that group of dropouts. In addition, Arizona would save more than $265.4 million in health care costs on those dropouts over their lifetime had they gotten their diplomas.

What else, you ask? The state would save about $103.7 million annually if all high school graduates are ready for college and did not require some degree of remediation at the higher level and lost earnings.

There also is room for improvement in getting high-quality teachers into all classrooms. The card states 94.4 percent of secondary classes in high-poverty schools are taught by a highly qualified teacher, and 96.2 percent of secondary classes in low-poverty schools are instructed by a highly qualified teacher.

"Information about each state's high schools, including how they perform in relation to national averages, is essential to any effort geared toward improving education in this country,' Bob Wise, president of the AEE, stated in a news release. "This is especially important right now, as Congress takes up renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act and considers ways to strengthen the law to address the needs of our high schools and their students."

Report cards for all states may be viewed on the Internet at www.all4ed.org/about_the_crisis/schools/maps.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced Thursday that tutoring funds have been reinstated for high school seniors who have yet to pass the AIMS math test.

The ADE conducted an online survey to find out how much has been spent on tutoring and determine ongoing needs, a news release from Horne's office stated. The ADE reasoned that remaining money needs to be channeled into math tutoring as a high priority.

Funds became available Thursday and will close at 3:30 p.m. April 14. For more information, contact Deborah.Francis@azed.gov or (602) 364-3177.