Category Archives: Education

Growing Pains: The School Consolidation Movement and Student Outcomes

Source: Christopher R. Berry, Martin R. West, Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, Vol. 26, Issue 1, 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Between 1930 and 1970, average school size in the United States increased from 87 to 440 students and average district size increased from 170 to 2300 students, as over 120,000 schools and 100,000 districts were eliminated through consolidation. We exploit variation in the timing of consolidation across states to estimate the effects of changing school and district size on student outcomes using data from the Public-Use Micro-Sample of the 1980 US census. Students educated in states with smaller schools obtained higher returns to education and completed more years of schooling. Reduced form estimates confirm that students from states with larger schools earned significantly lower wages later in life. Although larger districts were associated with modestly higher returns to education and increased educational attainment in most specifications, any gains from the consolidation of districts were far outweighed by the harmful effects of larger schools.

School bus company settles overtime lawsuit with former Maryland employees

Source: Caryn Tamber, Daily Record, January 28, 2010

A school bus company has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a class-action overtime lawsuit by its former Maryland employees….

…C. Christopher Brown, who represents the class, said First Student was avoiding paying overtime by recording employees’ various duties separately. For example, if an employee spent 30 hours per week driving and 20 hours training other employees, that would not be entered into the books as a 50-hour workweek.

Auditors Find Big Problems with Civics Education Program

Source: By Michele McNeil, EdWeek blog, November 23, 2009

When your government-funded program is on the chopping block, a rather damning Inspector General audit will do little to bolster your case for continued funding.

 ……. We the People and the Cooperative Civic Education and Economic Education Exchange Program. Both seek to foster civic education in K-12 schools. Both programs are also part of a laundry list of cuts the Obama administration has proposed. The savings, according to the Obama folks, would be $33.5 million. The center is a California-based nonprofit corporation that gets about 82 percent of its revenue from the U.S. Department of Education

Auditors from the Education Department’s Office of Inspector General reviewed about $7.4 million of $23 million in grants that the Center for Civic Education charged in a one-year period to the federal grant programs, including We the People. Of that $7.4 million, auditors found $1.2 million of the spending was not allowed under federal regulations, and another $4.7 million couldn’t be supported by proper documentation. That’s a whopping 80 percent of charges that were either unallowable, or unsupported.

 

Hempfield Area School District bus drivers propose ‘savings’

Source: Richard Gazarik, Tribune-Review, October 19, 2009

…At stake are the jobs of 149 drivers and custodians. Transportation, food services, cleaning and maintenance are part of a $134 billion market, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. …The school board is demanding concessions worth $9 million to $10 million over four years. Otherwise, directors will hire a private contractor, First Student, to take over transportation of the districts 6,400 students. First Student’s proposal would save the district $1.4 million in the first year, board members said. …

Hudson schools back on track after busing woes Wednesday

Source: Damon Sims, Plain Dealer, September 4, 2008

Busing in the Hudson schools ran relatively smoothly on Thursday after the district closed the day before to resolve transportation problems. Classes were canceled on Wednesday to give Cincinnati-based First Student, the private company that manages the district’s busing, time to sort out glitches with its new, computer-generated system of routing. …The school district recruited volunteers to call parents with information about pickup times and locations for the revised routes Wednesday evening. But Hudson Schools Superintendent Steve Farnsworth said the bus company didn’t provide any information for two school buildings and only partial information for another. Although he praised First Student’s hard work to resolve the problems, Farnsworth said the district plans to re-evaluate its one-year, $2.3 million contract with the bus company. …

Custodian fired after allegations made by a Columbia High student

Source: By Philip Sean Curran, News Record NJ, Wednesday, March 22, 2006 10:55 PM EST

MAPLEWOOD, NJ – A male custodian at Columbia High School was fired for allegedly asking a female student for her phone number, school officials said Monday. More details were not made available. Superintendent of Schools Peter P. Horoschak did not return a phone call seeking comment. The custodian had worked for Aramark, the company that provides custodial services at Columbia. An Aramark spokeswoman did not return a phone call seeking comment.