Last week, I noted some differences of fact between HISD Superintendent Terry Grier and HFT President Gayle Fallon over the cost and use of alternate school CEP, which Grier wants to dump. Fallon left a comment in that post, and followed it up in a reply to an email I sent her with some spreadsheets detailing how many referrals to CEP there have been in the past three years. I’ve uploaded them all to Google Docs and placed them in this folder for your perusal. They’re broken down by HISD Trustee district and school. A couple of observations:
- Over the three years listed, the number of students referred to CEP was less than four percent of the total disciplinary incidents. Based on that, it’s hard to say that students are being over-referred. Suspensions, in school and out of school, were the vast majority of the punishments.
- The flip side of that the relatively small number of students sent to CEP makes it an appealing target for cost cutting. By my calculation, an average of 3234 students per year were referred to CEP. HISD paid CEP $22 million last year, which works out to $6802 per student. By comparison, Fort Bend ISD was allocated $4871 per student by the state; Tomball ISD got $5783. Especially given that not all CEP referrals are for the full school year, it’s not unreasonable to think there may be a cheaper way to do this.
- One thing you see as you pore through all this data is that in both absolute and per student terms, there are far more incidents and CEP referrals from the middle schools than from the high schools. Hair Balls made this observation as well, noting that many of them are “overage” middle schoolers. I presume that one reason for the decline in high school referrals is simply because many of these troublemaking middle schoolers have dropped out or gotten entangled in the criminal justice system instead. One wonders if there’s a viable strategy to reduce the number of middle school offenders. That would pay dividends if it could be done.
- I’m going to explore some of these questions in more detail in the coming days, as I have an interview with Fallon lined up and am working on getting one with Grier. If there’s anything you think I should ask, please leave a comment.
UPDATE: For reasons not clear to me, the files themselves are not visible in the folder. So here are the direct links to the files themselves:
Sorry for the confusion.