Thursday, August 11, 2016

Four stars for Oconee County Schools

Oconee County Schools is once again at the top of a state educational ranking!  This time the ranking relates to what Oconee County taxpayers get for their investment in our public school students, or what the state is referring to as Financial Efficiency
Oconee County Schools received four out of a possible five stars, placing it as one of the top ten systems in the state under this new measure.  According to the Georgia Department of Education a top award-winning system “can be described as having strong academic outcomes and lower levels of expenditures in comparison with other districts.” Oconee County Schools consistently maintains one of the lowest millage rates in Northeast Georgia and is a state leader in student achievement.
This award clearly reflects the hard work of our community and school officials to ensure that education remains a top priority in Oconee County and that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.  Since 2012 millage rates have decreased from 18.5 total mills to 17.0 total mills while student graduation rates have increased from 90.5 percent to 93.6 percent.  OCS currently has the number two SAT and ACT scores in Georgia and is ranked as the number two school system in the state by the Georgia Department of Education. In addition, the board of education recently passed its third consecutive balanced budget and improved the school district’s Moody’s Investor Services bond rating from Aa2 to Aa1.

Financial Efficiency Star Ratings, range from one-half star to five stars, and utilize a three-year average of per-pupil expenditures and College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores to determine a district’s rating. This first-ever rating is based on data from 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 and seeks to measure an individual school district’s per-pupil spending in relation to the academic achievements of its students. 
The new metric is born out of a law passed in 2010, OCGA § 20-14-33, which requires that the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, in coordination with the Georgia Department of Education, create a financial efficiency rating. The law requires that GOSA and GaDOE collaborate to develop “indicators of the quality of learning by students, financial efficiency, and school climate for individual schools and for school systems.”
The law states that financial efficiency “may include an analysis of how federal and state funds spent by local school systems impact student achievement and school improvement, and components used to determine financial efficiency may include actual achievement, resource efficiency, and student participation in standardized testing.” The rating must be based upon five stars.
For more information about Oconee County Schools or the Financial Efficiency Rating of any other school district visit ccrpi.gadoe.org, choose a school district, and select one of the following report types: elementary, middle, or high school. Then, click on the “Financial Efficiency” tab. The overall district rating is displayed in each of the three report types.

As always, I am interested in your thoughts as they relate to OCS’ financial efficiency.  Please share them with me at jbranch@oconeeschools.org

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