San Mateo school district votes to sue over AP test

July 23, 2013 6:33:45 PM PDT
The San Mateo Union High School District voted to sue to try to get students' Advanced Placement test scores reinstated. They took this action after hundreds of results were thrown out by the College Board and Educational Testing Service.

The school and the district have already said was their fault they did not follow the proper seating procedure. However, the message they want to convey is despite this, they say there was absolutely no cheating.

There was so much pressure to act quickly the four school board members from the San Mateo Union High School District scheduled an emergency meeting at noon on Tuesday.

"We voted unanimously to proceed with litigation on behalf of our students at Mills High School," said School Board president Peter Hanley.

The district will now sue the College Board to get Advanced Placement test results reinstated. At stake is the academic future of 224 Mills High School students. Their tests were disqualified, which means instead of taking high level college courses in a given subject, they would now have to take an entry level course.

"The bottom line is the students could be losing opportunities," said Deputy Superintendent Elizabeth McManus.

Without the AP credits, Mills High School graduate Grant Murphy -- a double major -- may not graduate from college in four years, costing him more money.

"Having to pay $60,000 or $30,000 more for another year or semester, it does affect me," said Murphy.

The College Board invalidated the AP results because of seating irregularities after a student reported it.

"In some of the classrooms, there were a few roundtables used and bottom line is based on the manual, students are supposed to be five feet apart, they're supposed to be facing the same direction," said McManus.

But the McManus told us during the testing, there was more adult supervision than what is required, so they're confident there was no cheating.

On Monday night, disgruntled parents heard an apology from Mills High School principal Paul Belzer. He said, "I sincerely regret having to be in this position and ultimately take responsibility for what transpired."

Students have been told they can take the exam again in early August.

"I need to study again, everything, and even though I didn't forget everything, it would still not be as fresh in my mind," said Mills High School graduate Bobby Chakalov.

Board members say they want this issue resolved through their lawyers within days.


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