2006_06_brooktech.jpgBad, elite high schools, bad! Investigators found out that Brooklyn Tech, the Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant all made low-income students pay for AP exams, while the schools received NY State grant money to fund them. Some of you may remember that AP exams are expensive - $82 a pop nowadays (we think they were around $70-some circa 1993), and the NY Times explains that students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches qualify for free AP exams. But the schools would charge those students $20-52 an exam. The whistle was blown on the operation when Brooklyn Tech's AP coordinator, Margaret Blau, wanted to refund the students after receiving the state's reimbursement of $13,000. Brooklyn Tech principal Lee McCaskill told her "he did not wish to be troubled issuing 259 checks to students, and that the surplus should be kept in the Brooklyn Tech account to be used for student activities."

Blau told the Daily News, "I was horrified. For many of these kids, [test fees] are a tremendous hardship, especially in their senior year when they have many expenses like ... the prom, the ring, the yearbook. To add to that a couple of hundred dollars for AP exams when they can't afford them is criminal." The NY State Department of Education investigator said that it should be investigated whether the overcharging occured at other high schools in the city.

McCaskill retired this year when it was revealed he put his daughter - a New Jersey resident - in a Brooklyn public school. Brooklyn Tech owes over $76,000 to students, while Stuyvesant owes around $73,000; Bronx Science has started issuing refunds for the $31,000 it owes.

Photograph of Brooklyn Tech from Satan's Laundromat