State: GISD academic progress shines

September 22, 2012

School officials get in the mood to order fresh flowers when a government report sings glorious praise about their school.

However, when the report isn’t as flattering…

The Granbury school district had some good and some not-so-good marks when the behemoth state-mandated Texas school efficiency report was released Wednesday by the state comptroller’s office.

The report’s bottom line: Granbury’s academic progress glowed, but the school was quick to spend the bucks.

School officials circled the wagons.

“While the financial index reflects high spending,” Granbury School Superintendent Jim Largent said, “the data used for this report was prior to significant staffing reductions over the last two years that are now fully implemented.

“Since 2010, 140 positions have been eliminated in GISD by not replacing all employees who retire or leave the school district. This has led to a total spending reduction of $7 million, which was achieved without having any layoffs that were imposed in many other school districts.”

Explaining the academic results was painless.

“The FAST (Financial Allocation Study for Texas) report shows strong progress by Granbury students in both reading and math,” Largent said. “We are pleased to be in the highest academic category identified by the comptroller, with GISD rating in the top 20 percent of the entire state and being one of only two school districts in the four-county area to achieve this level.”

Granbury ISD and Aledo ISD were the only districts in Hood, Somervell, Parker and Johnson counties to achieve the highest level on the Composite Progress Score, Largent pointed out.

The Composite Progress Score averages academic growth for three years (2009-2011).

FAST rates the Composite Progress into five categories from 0 to 19, 20 to 39, 40 to 59, 60 to 79, and 80 to 99. Granbury’s Composite Progress Score was 80, which put the district in the highest category.

Granbury’s had marks of 76 and 77 in math and reading progress, respectively. That means this: During the last three years Granbury students showed as much or more progress on the math and reading Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills than 76 and 77 percent of districts statewide.

Granbury had a FAST rating of 3 stars (5 the highest). FAST integrates the academic progress and spending measures to identify schools responsible for strong and cost-effective academic growth.

Lipan and Tolar had higher FAST ratings than Granbury. Lipan’s was 3 1/2 stars and Tolar’s was 4 stars. However, the report showed the two smaller schools with lower math and reading progress than Granbury. Spending though was lower than Granbury.

The comptroller’s office created FAST in response to the 2009 Legislature’s direction to “identify school districts and campuses that use resource allocation practices that contribute to high academic achievement and cost-effective operations.”

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2011-12 TEA A. Math B. Reading C. Composite D. Spending E. FAST

Accountability Progress Progress Progress Index Rating

District Rating Percentile Percentile Percentile

Granbury Recognized 76 77 80 Very High ***

Lipan Recognized 51 35 41 Low ****

Tolar Academically

Acceptable 69 53 65 Low ****

A. Percentile ranking of math progress (students showed as much or more progress on state test than that percentage of districts statewide).

B. Percentile ranking of reading progress.

C. Percentile ranking of combined math and reading progress.

D. Ranking of spending per pupil, adjusted for regional wage differences, relative to the district’s fiscal peer group.

E. Star rating (asterisks) combining academic progress and relative spending.

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