Monterey County schools flunks state education tests, scramble for new funding sources.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Monterey County has more failing schools than any other county except Los Angeles and San Bernardino, according to the State Department of Education. It shares that dubious distinction with San Francisco and Kern counties, which each have 12 schools that appear on a preliminary list of 188 the state has deemed the bottom 5 percent in California. A final list is set for release Thursday, March 11.
The Monterey County schools are: MLK and Bardin elementaries in the Alisal Union School District; Greenfield Union Elementary District’s Greenfield Elementary and Vista Verde Middle; Chualar Elementary and Greenfield High; Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s Seaside High, Martin Luther King (K-8) and Highland Elementary; Rose Ferrero Elementary in Soledad; and Castroville Elementary and North Monterey High in North Monterey County Unified.
It may not be all bad news for the listed schools – they’re eligible to apply for up to $2 million in federal grant funds if they agree to drastic action, which can include converting to charters, closing down altogether and sending students to higher achieving campuses, or undertaking a series of reforms like firing the principal and half the staff while adopting new governance structures and revamping curricula.
But they have to act quickly. They must apply for the grants this summer, and have turnaround plans underway next school year.
MPUSD will likely do just that on behalf of King, Highland and Seaside High, where Assistant Superintendent Kari Yeater says most of the fixes prescribed by the feds are already in progress.