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After FCAT, River City Science Student Waits and Waits for Cash Reward

6:31 PM, Sep 16, 2011   |    comments
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Update as of 9/16/11: The cash incentive for Ashley Newman and the other students for improving their scores was being handled by Grace Institute of Atlanta. The company consults with the charter school. Newman had improved her scores but never receive her cash reward even though she tried. However, today Newman was paid the $50 for improving her FCAT scores. 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- River City Science is a charter school where the students do fairly well in the FCAT.

Ashley Newman used to go to River City in the seventh and eight grades, but this year she's being home schooled. "I don't feel I can trust what they say," said Monica Newman.

Newman said she took her daughter out of River City Science Academy for a number of reasons, but she said she was most disappointed with a broken promise related to the school's FCATs.

"The first explanation was so many kids did so well there wasn't enough money to go around. The next explanation was Grace Institute would be responsible for paying the money," said Newman.

Grace Institute of Alpharetta, Ga., consults for River City Science Academy. As a one-time incentive, the school and Grace promised to pay students $25 per point if they improved their FCAT scores.

Ashley Newman did and wants to know where her reward is. "I feel it is unfair and you shouldn't make promises you can't keep," she said.

River City Science Academy has 800 students and the executive director is Dogan Tozoglu. Tozoglu said Grace Institute handled the promotion and is therefore responsible.

He said FCAT scores were delayed during the incentive pay promotion and that may have had an impact on why it is taking so long to pay.

It was a one-time test and the pay incentive is no longer being offered, he said, but that doesn't change how the Newmans feel.

Monica Newman said it is not a lot of money, but it is the principle. "It is hard to explain that to your child, when they promise to do well and they do what is expected of them and they're not rewarded for it," said Newman.

"This is the first time I'm hearing of this and my goal is to facilitate every concern coming form parents. I'm hoping this is a communication issue, but I will get to the bottom of it." said Tozoglu.

Avni Cokavci, executive coordinator of Grace Institute in Georgia, said the program was a test, a one-time offer. "Not every student earned a reward," said Cokavci.

He couldn't say how many students received the cash, but he described the process. "The student submits his scores, (and) if they're improved, they're rewarded," said Cokavci.

"I'll go over the records; if she (Ashley) is eligible I will process her reward," he added.

The Duval County School Board does not have a policy regarding cash incentives. Spokesperson Jill Johnson said this would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  

First Coast News

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