Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/12/2011 07:18:26 PM PST

Teachers and school board members continue to bristle that five schools in the San Bernardino City Unified School District did not qualify for a total of $7.2 million in state funding because of preventable mistakes, even as they push for a waiver.

“Somebody was asleep at the switch,” said board member Judi Penman. “I’m not going to name names because that’s not fair, but it can’t happen again. This is one of those things that the board has to take responsibility for, and it’s our fault.”

The schools each slightly missed the requirements to receive Quality Education Investment Act funding.

One teacher each at Bradley Elementary School, Mount Vernon Elementary School and Wilson Elementary School was not rated “highly qualified,” while Curtis Middle School had one class that exceeded the 27 students allowed in middle school classes.

Arrowhead Elementary School did not qualify because its Academic Performance Index, calculated based on student test scores, did not increase enough over the last three years.

The schools will receive the money through the end of the 2011-2012 school year, so no mid-year cuts are planned, but unless the State Board of Education grants a waiver they will lose out on money that would have been given in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Interim Superintendent Yolanda Ortiz said staff is cautiously optimistic the district will receive a waiver because the schools nearly made their goals and have reworked internal processes in ways she says will ensure the mistakes can’t happene again. The administrator in charge of the program retired at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

Rebecca Harper, president of the San Bernardino Teachers Association and chairwoman of the work group that monitors QEIA for the California Teachers Association, said some of the seven requirements to receive funding are more complicated than they seem.

For instance, the definition of a highly qualified teacher differs depending on when a teacher entered the profession, and administrators may have assumed teachers studying for the test that determines it would soon pass.

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