LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- You're going to be hearing a lot more about A+ Arkansas in the coming months and years.
The concept is to work the arts into every school subject -- math, reading, science, spelling, you name it!
Today's THV is tracking this teaching method to determine if it has the power to change education in Arkansas. And we're also tracking how much it would cost to have it in every school district.
So, we requested some information, through the Freedom of Information Act, from randomly chosen schools.
Let's begin, in alphabetical order, with Batesville School District. It has 250 teachers and spent $110,863.26 on professional development for them last year.
A+ provides training for 30 teachers at a cost of $25,000 the first year. So training all teachers in Batesville would cost around $200,000. The second and third years of training, the price goes down to $19,000 for 30 teachers and then to $17,000.
The Beebe School District also has around 250 teachers, but spends a bit more on professional development -- $153,322.50. So the cost of the first year of A+ training would cost about $50,000 more than they spent last year.
Moving on to Clinton, with 105 teachers, that district spent more than $38,272.10 on professional development last year. A+ would cost $87,500 the first year.
In requesting information from several districts around the state, we've learned the larger the district, the more spent on professional development. So, the larger the district, the more cost-effective on the front end.
But, A+ is a three-year training program. After that, schools train their own new teachers at no cost. And they have the option of asking A+ trainers for refresher courses. The charge for that is only what it costs the trainers. They're not making money off this.
In the long-run, it could be more cost-effect for all districts, no matter the size.
Now, you can determine how cost effective it would be for your own district by crunching the numbers. To do that, you can send in a request under FOIA -- the Freedom of Information Act.
We've included a sample request below or you can download the PDF and fill in the blanks.
Sample FOIA request form:
I am requesting the dollar amount spent in the _______ School District on educational consultants for the 2011-2012 school year, as well as in which schools that money was spent. I am only looking for educational/classroom/teacher training consultant fees. I am not requesting anything in regard to legal or construction consultation fees.
I am also requesting the total number of teachers in the district.
This letter is my formal request for notification. It has been written so you will have the request on file. I will keep a copy on file as well.
Can you please email it to me at [your email address here].
The request is made under the Freedom of Information Act.
(5)(A) "Public records" means writings, recorded sounds, films, tapes, electronic or computer-based information, or data compilations in any medium required by law to be kept or otherwise kept and that constitute a record of the performance or lack of performance of official functions that are or should be carried out by a public official or employee, a governmental agency, or any other agency wholly or partially supported by public funds or expending public funds. All records maintained in public offices or by public employees within the scope of their employment shall be presumed to be public records.
Date of Request: [ ]