City schools pony $500-a-day for testing consultant
Ohanian Comment: When people try to figure out how much the federally required testing costs, they don't generally figure in such costs as this $500 a day item. It interests/appalls me that a district serving 17,250 students and employing 1,700 faculty and staff needs eight committees on testing. It would also be interesting/appalling to know just whatthe 140 people overseen by Ms. Lecaroz do.
By Riley Yates
MANCHESTER – A $500-a-day consultant to coordinate the school district's efforts to improve test scores won the support of the school board last night.
In a 10-4 vote, the board approved extending Amanda Lecaroz's $41,500 job for another year, though parliamentary procedure means it must again go through the committee process before getting a final vote.
The vote overturned a decision of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee, which questioned whether the district was getting its dollars' worth for Lecaroz, whose salary pays for 83 days of work.
Lecaroz, former principal of the Middle School at Parkside, won praise from board members and a parent organizer last night, who said she is the best qualified person for a job that oversees the efforts of 140 people and eight committees.
The position is part of the district's push to address its federal in-need-of-improvement status, which is based on federal test scores. It would be funded through two grants, and does not include health benefits.
Kathy Staub, president of the Manchester Coalition for Quality Education, said she was "pleasantly astounded" by the progress the district has made in its efforts in the past year. She credited Lecaroz for much of the gain.
"We need to keep doing it this way for the simple reason that it's working," Staub said.
Dissenters said the district could get more value for $41,500 by hiring a teacher to coordinate the work. They also questioned whether the position should have gone out to bid.
"We're getting 83 days of Amanda Lecaroz coordinating these committees when, in fact, we could get 183 days" with a teacher, said Katherine Labanaris of Ward 5.
Opposing the coordinator were Labanaris, Doug Kruse of Ward 8, at-large member Debra Langton and Art Beaudry of Ward 9. At-large member Kathleen Kelley was absent.
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES