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Report reveals school districts’ fiscal efficiency

By BOBBY HORN JR.
EAST HARRIS COUNTY—How efficient are school districts like Crosby, Goose Creek and Huffman spending their funds?
A new state report might just answer that question. The State Comptroller of Public Accounts has produced the first ever efficiency study of how effectively the state’s school districts utilize their monies.
The Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST) was created to examine how school districts and campuses spend their money – and how this spending translates into student achievement.
Each 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 reflect the strongest relative progress combined with the lowest relative spending.

According to the report Crosby ISD earned three and half stars. The district, which has population of 4,793 students, has an adjusted spending of $5,969 per student. This is considered “very low.”
Districts earning the most stars are the ones with “low” or “very low” spending. This would indicate that the districts are able to achieve academic success while keeping costs in-check. Districts with “high” spending generally scored poorly on the “FAST” rating.
The report also shows that Crosby ISD is in the 35 percentile for combined math and reading progress.
The 20,519-student Goose Creek CISD earned three stars. Their adjusted spending of $7,076 is considered “average.”
The district is the 50 percentile for combined math and reading progress. Huffman ISD services 3,044 students. They earned three stars as well.
While they had a “very low” adjusted spending of 5,924 per pupil, their combined math and reading progress in the 14 percentile.
Academic Progress, Cost-Adjusted Spending and Spending Index measures are three-year averages through 2008-2009.
All other academic data, including accountability ratings, are from 2008-09. Through the State Comptroller’s office, school districts can access advice on improving their ranking by studying financial allocation smart practice tips shared by school districts across Texas on a range of topics including instruction and staffing, financial management and technology solutions, purchasing and student services and facilities.