RGF Board Member Elisabeth Keen Tackles APS

Trying to find out what is going on at APS can be quite a challenge. Rio Grande Foundation board member Elisabeth Keen takes on the education bureaucracy in this excellent opinion piece that appeared in the Albuquerque Journal.

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2 Replies to “RGF Board Member Elisabeth Keen Tackles APS”

  1. I generally appreciate and agree with RGF analysis, but the article in the Journal by Elisabeth Keen is comparing apples and oranges when discussing total costs at APS vs St. Pius, Hope, and Albuquerque Academy. The average cost at APS is the total cost, including operating, transportation, books, capital expenditures, debt service, grants for Title I, Special Ed., etc. The amounts for the private schools are the tuition rates which due not include amounts these excellent private schools receive from gifts, endowments, etc. To do a proper comparison you need to look at the total costs for each school, not just the amount charged for tuition. I was told a couple of years ago the tuition at Albuquerque Academy doen’t even cover one-half the full cost. Another important point missing from the analysis is the fact APS spends almost $130 million for special education programs for approximately 12,000 special education students. Students attending a charther or private schools are elgible for APS funded special education, these would be APS costs but the student is at a private school. Thank you for your important work, but let’s make sure a full and accurate analysis is performed.

    1. David, thanks for the note. You make some good points. However, I’d note that APS receives gifts as well. I don’t know the full details of private school budgets and I believe most of them keep that information private, however, it is worth noting that a school like Hope Christian charges half of what APS spends annually. That is a dramatic difference.

      Special education is certainly a major difference, but public schools and parents nationwide have been placing kids into special ed in order to gain additional resources and/or special attention. It would be interesting to see how many of these programs are needed and whether they are administered effectively. It is hard to say.

      I don’t think Elisabeth’s idea was to make any direct comparison, but to raise questions about the effectiveness of what APS is doing. Also, I’ll be the first to admit that APS is not the only party at fault here. Federal and state regulations and mandates have a major role. But this is just another argument for deeper and broader education reform in my opinion.

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