April 2013                                                                                                        http://parca.samford.edu

Table of Contents
Alabama's Tax Burden
Spotlight on Success
PARCA Friends on the Move

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Greetings from PARCA!


As many of you may already know, the mission of PARCA is to provide objective, nonpartisan information that will lead to the improvement of state and local government.
Educate citizens. Improve government. 
PARCA is working with cities, counties and school systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness within government, and providing information to citizens by publishing insightful reports on state and local issues.
If our mission is important to you as well, please share our reports with others. An in-depth description of our recent work can also be read in PARCA's 2012 Annual Report.
Thank you for your support.
Jim Williams
Executive Director
Taking Stock of Alabama's Tax Burden


Before we close the book on April and the tax forms and filings that are part of this month, it is worth looking at the size of the taxes we pay to support government and who bears the burden of paying them. How big is the total tax burden? How is that burden distributed? Where do State and Local Taxes fit into the calculation?


To read more about Alabama's Tax Burden, see our latest report, Taking Stock of the Size and Burden of the Taxes Alabamians Pay.


Spotlight on Success


PARCA is creating a collection of reviews of schools in Alabama that have demonstrated high performance. We will be telling the stories of these schools' successes through several issues of The Perspective.


This month's spotlight shines on Westhills Elementary School. Westhills is a part of the Bessemer City School System. 


In 2009, Westhills received a wake-up call when the school's special education students failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the state's system for performance evaluation.


Instead of being discouraged or making excuses, the faculty at Westhills vowed to up their game, determined not to be labeled a failing school. 


By using a variety of techniques, Westhills students' scores on the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Tests have risen across all grade levels since 2009. In some cases, they scored well above the state average.


To read Westhills Elementary School's strategies for success, click here.





PARCA Friends on the Move


The PARCA Roundtable, our member-based organization of young, civic and business leaders interested in state and local government, welcomed it's 2013 class of members this month. To view the Roundtable's newest members, click here.