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Schools waiting on test score bonuses

The check’s not in the mail, so Nevada County school principals don’t have plans to spend over $200,000 they may receive from the state for improved test scores.

“When the money does come – if indeed it does – we’ll come up with a plan to spend it,” said Dan Zeisler, superintendent/principal of Chicago Park School District, said about his district’s $4,020 Governor’s Performance Award.

California schools whose test scores met goals set by the state Department of Education will split $157 million. The money can be spent on anything for schools, from crayons to playground equipment to staff, but not teachers’ salaries.



Zeisler and Scott Lay, superintendent/principal at another of the county’s smallest districts – Clear Creek Elementary – had been told their schools were too small to qualify for the award.

“We had under 100 students who took the test,” said Zeisler. “This time, we weren’t even aware we would get it. This is a windfall for us.”




Clear Creek Elementary School won $3,245, a surprise to Lay, because “we’d been told before that we would not be receiving one because we’re too small.”

How to spend the money will be on the school board’s agenda for the next meeting, when, Lay said, it will consider how to “disburse it in a manner that will best suit our students’ needs.”

Scotten School in the Grass Valley Elementary School District might spend its $22,940 award on more instruction in its science program as well as more materials for the accelerated reader program, Superintendent Jon Byerrum said. The school’s site council has to vote on the plan first.

Some of the money may go to the classroom for supplies, to be spent at the teachers’ discretion. Teachers frequently spend $500 to $1,000 of their own money every year on classroom supplies, Byerrum said.

Nevada Union High School was the big winner in the county, receiving $70,957.

Two schools in the Pleasant Ridge Union Elementary School District won awards totaling $40,678: Alta Sierra Elementary School won $11,285 and

Magnolia Intermediate won $29,393.

Two schools within the Twin Ridges Elementary School District won a total of $8,224. Grizzly Hill received $2,028 and Nevada City School of the Arts, a charter school, won $6,196.

Union Hill Elementary won a $16,744 award for its K-8 school. Williams Ranch Elementary School, the school within the Pleasant Valley Elementary School District, was awarded $5,348.

In recent years the school site council voted to spend money on redoing kindergarten apparatus, and buy computers and art supplies, said James Voss, superintendent/principal of the Pleasant Valley district.

“When we receive an API award … we can spend on anything they want to besides salaries,” Voss said. “I’m hesitant to spend until we get the money.”

Governor?s Performance Awards to Nevada County schools for 2000-01. The awards go to schools whose Academic Performance Index rose to meet state Department of Education goals.

Chicago Park Elementary, $4,020

Clear Creek Elementary, $3,245

Grass Valley Charter, $5,348

Scotten Elementary, $17.592

Seven Hills Intermediate School, $19,657

Nevada Union High School, $70,957

Alta Sierra Elementary, $11,285

Magnolia Intermediate, $29,393

Williams Ranch Elementary, $5,348

Ready Springs Union Elementary, $10,474

Grizzly Hill Elementary, $2,028

Nevada City School of the Arts charter, $6,196

Union Hill Elementary, $16,744

? Source: California Department

of Education Web site


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