LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - School districts across the state bring in experts to help them improve classroom performance. They send teachers to workshops for the same reason.
So, guess how much all of this educational consultation costs. Think it's in the thousands? How about the hundreds of thousands?
Because Today's THV is launching Project A+ Arkansas, we've decided to take a closer look at the price of education consultants. Of course, the costs will depend on the size of the district.
We've crunched the numbers for the three biggest districts here in central Arkansas. Those numbers are from federal, state, and district funding, with feds and state picking up most of the cost.
But it's all tax dollars. Let's start in North Little Rock.
In the 2011-12 school year, the North Little Rock School District spent $1,196,000 on consultants for the classroom.
The Pulaski County Special School District spent $1,472,000, while Little Rock School District spend $1,771,000.
The district spent that money on everything from workshops for teachers offsite, to consultants coming to the schools, to instructional materials for the classroom.
Now, let's compare those costs to the typical cost of A+ training. Keep in mind, costs will vary depending on the size of the individual school.
Each one goes through a three-year training cycle. For the first year, at a school with 20-30 teachers, the average cost is $25,000.
The second year, it would be around $19,000, and the third year would cost around $17,000.
So, North Little Rock School District, which has about 650 teachers, could put the A+ model into every school for about $550,000 the first year. This would be a grand total savings over the current year's consultation costs of more than $646,000.
As the number of teachers increases, the cost would increase. For PCSSD to put the A+ model into every school, it would cost around $1,075,000, which would be a savings of nearly $400,000 based on the consultant fees they paid out this past school year.
For Little Rock School District, the cost to train its 2,100 teachers would cost around $1,750,000 the first year. That's a savings of $21,000 over last school year.
The cost of Arkansas A+ would decrease in years two and three, as long as the number of teachers stay the same.
Another point of interest is that schools typically contract several educational consultants. For example, PCSSD has more than two dozen.
Under the A+ model, schools could stick with one consultant.
Today's THV will be tracking Rockefeller, Boone Park, and Pike View over the next several years, to see if it really works.
In the meantime, Arkansas education officials recently touted increasing test scores across the state. "Education Week" ranked Arkansas fifth in the nation, in respect to education policy.
The state isn't claiming victory just yet, as there's still room to improve our standing.