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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Cutting AP funding "doesn't make sense" to Hillsborough school superintendent



Elia_3 A push by some lawmakers to cut millions of dollars out of AP funding for a second year in a row is "a knee-jerk reaction" that is out of sync with the state's push to better prepare students for college, Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia tells the Gradebook.

And it's especially puzzling given the state's decision to include AP participation and passage rates in the high school grading formula, beginning next year, she said.

"If the policy and philosophy is college ready, then you identify the source and you keep that source in place, even in tough times," said Elia, who's pushed the AP curriculum as much as any superintendent in Florida. Elia added, "To put in place a system that is going to be very heavily weighted in (school grades), and then to turn around and say, ‘we're going to cut funding for that,' that doesn't make sense."

In an effort to save money, the Senate is proposing to cut funding for AP and IB programs in half next year, from $66 million to $33 million. Hillsborough's share would drop from about $5.7 million to $2.8 million; Pinellas', from $2.8 million to $1.4 million. The money is used to train AP teachers, buy course materials and pay student exam costs. It also covers teacher bonuses.

The Senate also wants to reduce those bonuses (awarded for each student who scores a 3 or higher on a 1-to-5 scale) from $50 to $40 and to lower the overall bonus cap from $2,000 to $1,600.

The House has not proposed cutting AP or IB funding.

Ron Matus, state education reporter


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:20am]


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