FAST track

New accountability rating shows school taxpayers get good return
Yet another Texas school accountability rating was released last week and this one is different from all those which preceded it.

While the ratings issued during the summer try to gauge only academic performance, the Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST) Report attempts to link per-student spending with academics.

Each district is given a rating between one and five stars which purports to show how well it’s educating students when compared with the amount of money it’s spending.

In other words, how much bang are we getting for our education bucks?

In Milam County the answer is “quite a lot, thank you very much.”

Every Milam district which offers a full K-12 curriculum got at least a 3.5-star rating. Each of those districts also were rated between “low” and “very low” on a separate spending index.

Rockdale ISD received a 4-star FAST rating and its spending index was rated “very low.”

Here are the ratings for Milam’s other K-12 districts: • Milano, 4-1/2 stars, “very low.” • Thorndale, 3-1/2 stars, “very low.” • Cameron, 4-1/2 stars, “very low.”

• Buckholts, 4 stars, “low.”

Gause ISD, which is a grade K-8 district, received 2-1/2 stars and an “average” spending index rating.

Each school’s “adjusted per pupil spending average. Rockdale’s was $8,272. That number by itself really doesn’t tell you much, though. Comptroller Susan Combs said the ratings aren’t strictly based on dollar figures and test scores although those factors are included.

The legislature asked for the study in attempt to determine where education dollars are being well spent.

In Milam County they are.—M.B.

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2010-12-16 digital edition

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