Midlothian ISD and Palmer ISD have both received the highest rating of five stars in the 2011 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts FAST (Financial Allocation Study for Texas) rating report.

“This recognition spotlights our conservative effort to be good stewards of MISD taxpayer dollars, while providing a quality educational experience for our students,” Dr. Edd Bigbee, assistant superintendent for finance and operations said.

There are 46 Texas school districts and charter schools that earned a five-star rating. Texas has more than 1,200 school districts and more than 200 charter schools.

“We’re extremely proud of this recognition. It took a team effort between our business office allocating funds, frugally spending taxpayer dollars and our teachers doing an excellent job,” Palmer ISD superintendent Kevin Noack said. “We’ve had high test scores and we were recognized by TEA (Texas Education Agency), and we saved personnel through consolidating one of our campuses.”

Each Texas district and campus is assigned a FAST rating of one to five stars, indicating its success in combining cost-effective spending with the achievement of measurable student academic progress. Five stars reflects the strongest relative progress combined with the lowest relative spending.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs updated her 2010 FAST report and assigned new rankings to 1,237 schools districts and charter schools, using the most recent educational data.

“Today, many Texas school districts face the challenge of educating more students with less funding,” Combs said. “FAST is an online tool they can use to compare their performance with similar districts.”

The 2009 Texas Legislature mandated the comptroller to create a method to fairly compare the state’s diverse school districts.

The FAST report’s criteria for judging districts’ progress includes, their county, enrollment number, TEA rating, math and reading scores, a spending index that compares spending per student with fiscal peers. According to the FAST website, a fiscal peers are districts and campuses that operate in a similar cost environment, are of similar size and serve similar students.

Midlothian ISD has 7,298 enrolled students and is a “Recognized” TEA rated district. The district’s 82 math progress percentile and 71 reading progress percentile are combined for a 80 composite progress percentile. The district falls into the “Very Low” spending index as compared with their fiscal peer groups.

Palmer ISD has 1,125 enrolled students and is a “Recognized” TEA rated district. The district’s 71 math progress percentile and 93 reading progress percentile are combined for a 89 composite progress percentile. The district falls into the “Very Low” spending index as compared with their fiscal peer groups.

Midlothian and Palmer ISD are the only school districts in Ellis county to earn a five-star rating, and both held a five-star rating last year as well.

For more information about the FAST report or to find your district’s score visit http://fastexas.org.

Contact Aaron at 469-517-1456 or a.schwaderer@wninews.com