Kyrene officials discuss school choice with residents - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Kyrene officials discuss school choice with residents

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Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 9:09 am

Kyrene School District’s Superintendent, Dr. David Schauer, and Chief Financial Officer, Jeremy Calles, spoke to members of the Ahwatukee community on Friday about what’s been occurring around the district.

One component addressed during the meeting was how the district has been effectively using the public’s tax dollars inside classrooms.

“For our peer group, which is large elementary schools that are within a city or a suburb, Kyrene is once again No. 1. We want to see how we compare to all the districts in the East Valley and with all the districts we rank third,” Calles said. “At a state level… overall we come in at No. 9.”

Calles also spoke about performance results around the district.

“Performance and the achievement is truly what everyone cares about, so in performance we are No. 1 in our peer group, in the East Valley we’re No. 3, and in the state we are No. 10,” he said.

Calles and Schauer also addressed legislative updates to audience members like the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts and school choice.

The Empowerment Scholarship Accounts is designed to allow a person to take 90 percent of what the formula would have generated to go to a public school, cash it out to the parent so they can make the decision on what do about their child’s education, Calles said.

“This troubles us for a couple reasons because when you look at what’s happening to our state we have a huge push for school choice, but without a lot of criteria around structuring what those choices should look like,” Calles said. “It may get to the point where schools are like gas stations, where you see one on every corner.”

Schauer said there hasn’t been a big impact around the district because of school choice.

“What it has done is made us much more cognizance in what we are doing in measuring our progress and our growth and offering choices. We are offering lots of choices that we never had before,” Schauer said. “I think in some ways it’s been good because it has pushed some of us to do things differently.”

Calles said schools around the district have been offering different programs, making each school unique.

“We have a Dual Language Academy over at Niños that is going to be opening at Lagos, we have our Leadership Academy that has been successful over at Cerritos and we have our Traditional Academy. We know here within Kyrene, out of our 25 schools, they are not the same and we are offering choices.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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