Thanks to their seniors, several high schools in Glendale and Northeast Los Angeles will get slices of a $14.6-million pie.
Twelfth-graders earned cash for seven of 11 area schools by improving scores on the California Assessment Program standardized tests.
The program, called Cash for CAP, gives money to any school that tests at least 93% of its seniors and shows overall improvement contrasted with last year's results.
Allan F. Daily Continuation and Herbert Hoover high schools in Glendale, and Abraham Lincoln, Belmont, John Marshall, Eagle Rock and Franklin Magnet C.I.P. high schools in Los Angeles were the winners in their area. Tests were given in December.
Of the more than 11,000 schools statewide, 550 earned a part of the $14.6 million from the state's general fund, said Barbra Wilson of the state's Education Improvement Incentive Program.
"We consider the program a success. The cash added a little importance to the testing program," Wilson said in a telephone interview from her Sacramento office. The program is 2 years old.
Cash to be awarded to California schools ranges from $5 to $192,000. Money was awarded according to a formula that took into account the number of seniors who took the test at each school.
Schools were tested in reading, spelling, written expression and mathematics.
Daily and Hoover in the Glendale Unified School District qualified for cash for the second year. This year, Daily will receive $24,800 and Hoover will get $24,581. The other Glendale high schools, Glendale and Crescenta Valley, did not qualify either year.
Scores at La Canada High, the only high school in the La Canada Unified School District, averaged as much as 10 points more than the state average. Unfortunately, scores there were also high last year and school officials, awaiting final notice, believe they will not receive any money.
Less Than State Average
Most Northeast Los Angeles high school seniors scored less than the state average.
Still, five of those seven schools improved their scores enough to qualify for cash prizes.
Lincoln, which improved an average of 3.4 points in the four tested subjects, was awarded $116,319. District officials said Lincoln showed the second-best overall improvement among Los Angeles district schools.
Marshall increased its score by an average of 1.4 points to qualify for $79,951.
Belmont will get $45,545 because its scores improved by an average of 0.75 point. Eagle Rock qualified for $27,903 with an average improvement of 0.7 point, although in one category, spelling, scores improved by 7.4 points. Other scores, such as written expression and math, declined to bring the average down.
Franklin Magnet C.I.P. earned $7,103 by increasing its scores on an average of 1.2 points. Lincoln Medical Health Magnet's scores dropped in every category and Benjamin Franklin's scores remained about the same, so neither school was eligible for any cash.
"I'm quite pleased that students in my district did extremely well," said Jackie Goldberg, the Los Angeles school board member who represents part of Northeast Los Angeles. "But it is important to remember that scores are only one measure of the quality of education," she said.
Earlier this week, students, teachers and administrators were excitedly planning ways to spend their windfalls.
Donald A. Dunkin, principal of Hoover High, said last year's $50,814 was spent on new textbooks and refurbishing tennis courts. Also, the senior class set up a student scholarship. The seniors are thinking of ways to spend this year's award, he said.
Seniors at Daily, an alternative school for students who for one reason or another could not attend a regular school, seemed more pleased with the test scores than the award.
"The money will be good for the school because we can buy new equipment, but the scores prove to the city that we're not a bunch of burnouts," said senior Brenda J. Taylor.
Another senior at Daily, Robert L. Wormald, concurred. "It was a challenge to us," he said. "People should notice us now, not as a school for dropouts, but as a school that has lots of potential."
At Abraham Lincoln High, seniors celebrated after Los Angeles district officials announced that the school will receive $116,319, the second-highest cash award in the district, after not winning last year.
Lincoln Principal Lupe L. Sonnie said the seniors have prepared a wish list of things they would like to spend the money on. Sonnie said teachers and staff worked with students to improve their proficiency in the tested subjects this year.
"We told the seniors, if they put forth the effort, we could meet the challenge," Sonnie said.
Guidelines on Use of Money
State education officials say the money cannot be given as cash to students, nor can it be used to pay teacher or staff salaries for more than one year.