After Mr. Burns raises the rate for purchasing electricity from the power plant, most households and businesses can no longer afford to use any electrical appliances. Homer resorts to lugging a parking meter he found to different places in Springfield as a means of raising money.
The financial crisis prompts the school district to hold a test to determine which school should be shut down. As the Springfield Elementary students prepare to be shipped to new schools, Lisa learns that Bart is the only one who hasn't taken the test. Can his one grade raise the school's score high enough for it to be saved?
A group of test proctors come to Springfield Elementary. They explain that the students must take a standardized test and pass it or the school will be closed down. When the students take the test, they fail, and are about to go to different schools when Bart arrives. He explains to Lisa that he wasn't at school on the day of the test (he was playing with a beetle). Lisa explains to Proctor Perkins that Bart never took the test, and that the fate of the school is on Bart's score.
Bart, however, doesn't care for his test and has second thoughts when he has a nightmare about Springfield becoming the stupidest town in the country. On the day of the test, he is not prepared, and answers the first questions with the same answer and doesn't get a chance to answer the last question. The beetle that Bart played with earlier arrives and acts as a mark on one of the answer bubbles, and Bart passes his exam.
Meanwhile, Mr. Burns raises the price of electricity. Homer soon throws out his electric appliances, and finds an old parking meter. He uses the parking meter to set up parking spaces and take change from people. Chief Wiggum takes notice and is hot on Homer's trail. When confronted by Wiggum, Homer tries to escape, but crashes his car and loses the parking meter. Later, Marge makes Homer return the money he had stolen, and Homer does so by dropping the money in a wishing well.
The episode was watched by 5.1 million viewers, earning a 2.4 rating.