Cinderella Misses the Ball

The writer at Cinderella’s Broom has recently left a mess of bread crumbs on the internet. Cindy has published screen shots of Newtown Public Schools 471 application that lists both Sandy Hook Elementary and Chalk Hill as schools within the Newtown district. Her screen shots show the same data for the two schools. Claiming the application was submitted prior to the start of the 2012 school year, Cindy deduces that Sandy Hook students were being schooled at the Chalk Hill site in the fall of 2012, if not earlier.

It was easy to initially assume this was fabricated evidence, since Cindy only shares screen shots of the 22 page document she claims was the source of her information. And quite strangely, it appears that someone cut and pasted form headers into an Excel spreadsheet to produce one of the screen shots she displays.  But as a critical thinker, I pushed my cognitive dissidence aside and went to search for the Newtown’s form 471.

In case you aren’t familiar with the 471, this form allows schools all over the country to apply for discounts on internet and telecommunications services. The FCC designated the non-profit USAC to administer this program and one may manually complete the application or apply on-line via their website. http://www.usac.org/default.aspx

The website has other useful links as well. You can find previously filed 471 applications by using this link . All you need is the 471 application number which Cinderella provides in her screen shot (826523). Don’t worry about not having the security code, you don’t need it. This tool lets you scroll through the application sections or even view the application in its entirety.

USAC search main screen

Pay special attention to the Current and Original radio buttons. Pretty self explanatory, but the original radio button will take you to the original application filed by Newtown schools which was postmarked on 3/13/2012. Here’s what Block 4 looked like in the original application:Newtown 471 app

Notice that Chalk Hill was not listed in the original application.

Don’t believe me? I encourage you to check it out for yourself.

Now, if you go back to the main screen and request the current application, you will see the most recent application from the funding year 2012-2013. Below is a screen shot of the Block 4 tab on the USAC site.

471 revised with CHS

Now, I’d like to direct your attention to the funding year line. The 2012 funding year runs from 7/1/2012 to 6/30/2013. Now can anyone tell me what happened between those dates? That’s right. The children moved from Sandy Hook to Chalk Hill. This meant that USAC needed to revise form 471 so that Chalk Hill was listed as a Newtown school.   And, not surprisingly, the enrollment data is the same because the entire population of Sandy Hook students transferred to Chalk Hill midyear.

(USAC provides another tool to extract raw data here. If you scroll down and select data points, ask to see commitment remarks before you extract the data, you will see the notation “MR1: USAC has added the Chalk Hill Middle School (BEN 5788) to the Block 4 Worksheet” in your report.  If you think my interpretation of the data is wrong, make sure you add the people at USAC to your list of co-conspirators.  That list must be getting mighty long.)

Now, Cinderella, please sweep up your mess.

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About spicemomma

I’m the 40-something mother of three red-headed boys.
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