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Local districts set to receive state money for Common Core implementation

Posted: September 3, 2013 6:29 p.m.
Updated: September 3, 2013 6:29 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - Santa Clarita Valley school districts are set to receive additional state funding to help cover the cost of implementing Common Core State Standards, new educational metrics that emphasize critical thinking and job and college preparation, the California Department of Education announced Tuesday.

California adopted the Common Core standards back in 2010, according to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and is one of 45 states that has done so to this point.

The William S. Hart Union High School District is set to receive about $4.5 million from the state, but spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said the district is still examining how to best spend the money.

The funds can be used for professional development, instructional materials and purchasing technological devices necessary to conduct computer-based assessment tests for students, according to the Department of Education.

Pinsker said the money would likely be used for professional development and for technology.

“We’re excited about the allocation and cautiously optimistic about it,” she said.

Robert Nolet, superintendent of the Sulphur Springs School District, said the estimated $1.1 million in state funding the district is expected to see will likely be used to add to its technological resources.

“We have done tremendous upgrades for all of our classrooms in anticipation of the Common Core Standards,” he said.
Along with that comes professional development, Nolet said, so teachers and administrators can use the technology efficiently.

“Technology is great,” he said. “But it has to be focused and it has to be used for its instructional value.”

Mark Evans, director of fiscal services for the Castaic Union School District, said the district has not finalized how to use the approximately $573,000 it is set to receive from the state, in part because of uncertainty regarding regulations for Common Core.

“I think we’re in a good spot because we’ve been working on Common Core for the past couple years,” Evans said. “But adoptions and the new materials, those will be additional costs.”

But despite the uncertainty, Evans said he was glad to see the state chipping in.

“It’s nice to have a pocket of money to tap into and to help offset those costs,” he said.

The majority of the about $1.39 million the Newhall School District is expected to see will be used for staff training and development, said district Superintendent Marc Winger.

“The priority for the money is training teachers to transition into Common Core and the changes it is bringing,” Winger said.

The Saugus Union School District will receive around $2 million for common core implementation, according to the Department of Education.

Statewide, school districts are set to receive about $622 million for that purpose, according to the Department of Education.

The state Legislature has allocated a total of $1.25 billion for this purpose, according to the Department of Education.

Common Core is a set of uniform metrics that is meant to standardize curriculum state to state. The standards place greater priority on teaching core concepts, with an emphasis in critical thinking and real-world applications.
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