Commissioner’s Memo FIN-06-034 dated September 26, 2005, explained that a spreadsheet containing each district’s reported Alternative Learning Environment (ALE) students for 2004-2005 would be e-mailed to the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) Administrator. These spreadsheets were sent to the Statewide Information System (SIS) Coordinator’s e-mail address reported in Cycle 7 of 2004-2005.
Numerous districts reported not receiving the spreadsheet or that the spreadsheet did not contain all ALE students for 2004-2005. Additional spreadsheets were sent to districts whenever requested. If districts reported that the spreadsheet did not include all ALE students, and if that district reported screen 102 and the entry/withdrawal screen were completed correctly for the missing students, APSCN programmers checked the data to determine the cause.
During the trouble-shooting process performed by programmers, a programming error was discovered that affected the ALE days for some students. The programming error was fixed and the affected districts were sent supplemental spreadsheets. It was also discovered that many students were left off the spreadsheet because districts had not identified the student as an ALE student by entering .25, .50 or 1.00 on screen 102. This information was to be entered once a student was in an ALE environment for 20 consecutive days. However, most districts were correctly entering the curriculum code of “AE” on the entry/withdrawal screen with the first day of entry into ALE and the date of withdrawal.
New rules governing the distribution of Student Special Needs Funding were approved by the State Board of Education in July 2005, and can be found on the Arkansas Department of Education’s web page. Section 4.03 explains how an ALE Full Time Equivalent (FTE) is calculated. It is no longer necessary that an ALE student be in an ALE environment for 20 “consecutive” days, only for a total of 20 days during the school year. Therefore, when APSCN used screen 102 as part of the criteria for determining eligible ALE students, those students with a total of at least 20 days but without 20 “consecutive” days would have been eliminated from the spreadsheet.
APSCN has written a new program that does not use screen 102 at all in determining eligible ALE students. The new program only looks at the entry/withdrawal screen (as of the cycle submission date) and pulls all students in an AE coded curriculum for at least 20 days during the school year. If this new program caused a district to gain ALE students, the additional students were listed on a new spreadsheet and those spreadsheets are again being e-mailed to the SIS Coordinator’s e-mail address as reported by the district in Cycle 7 of 2004-2005.
As stated in the ALE Funding Rule, the funding amount shall be $3,250 times the district’s eligible ALE students’ FTE in the previous school year as defined in the rule. The rule states that “an eligible ALE student’s FTE shall be determined by the number of hours taught in an eligible ALE each day divided by 6 hours, times the number of days an eligible student attends the ALE, plus the number of days absent, divided by the number of school days actually taught in the school year.” The spreadsheet sent to districts calculates the FTE as defined by the rule and based on the information reported by school districts. There is no process for changing ALE information submitted by school districts in the seven 2004-2005 reporting cycles. Therefore, if the district’s records, as submitted in the cycle report, do not show a student in an “AE” curriculum for at least 20 days during 2004-2005, no ALE funding will be provided in 2005-2006 for that student. If a student is erroneously reported in AE for at least 20 days and appears on the spreadsheet, a district should enter zero minutes per day in ALE and a zero FTE will be calculated.
If an eligible ALE student is erroneously excluded from the spreadsheet, please go to the entry/withdrawal screen for that student in the 2004-2005 archive database. If the student has at least 20 days in an "AE" curriculum, please print the screen and fax it to APSCN, 501-682-5035, attention Clara Knox. This information will be compared with the data used to produce the spreadsheet and the reporting person will be notified of the results. If, on the other hand, that screen does not have the student in an AE curriculum for at least 20 days, that student cannot be counted for 2005-2006 funding purposes.