Weatherford ISD School Board members unanimously approved the District’s budget and tax rate for the 2013-14 school year at a special-called meeting Aug. 20 in the District Services Building Boardroom.The Board voted to lower the overall tax rate from $1.40 to $1.39 per $100 assessed valuation as well as to provide salary increases for all WISD staff members based on the midpoint of each employee’s pay grade.“I’m proud that our Board was able to adopt a balanced budget while, at the same time, making the District pay scales more competitive with our market,” WISD Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hanks said.Hanks was equally pleased with the lowering of the total tax rate.“WISD taxpayers have had the same combined school tax rate of $1.40 since 2007,” he added. “The fact that our Board members were able to lower the tax rate is a testament to the stewardship they continue to provide for our community.”Included in the adopted budget were:- Additional School Resource Officer- Two Mathematics Specialists- Additional maintenance funds to address deferred maintenance projects- Four additional elementary teachers to address increases in enrollmentWISD exceeds state averages in recently-announced accountability ratingsWeatherford ISD Board members and administrators were pleased to learn that the District achieved an overall accountability rating of “Met Standard” based on the 2013 STAAR assessment results released by the Texas Education Agency on Aug. 8.Under the new accountability system, a “Met Standard” rating is the highest rating awarded by the state. The 2013 ratings are based on four performance index framework areas: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and post-secondary readiness.“Each of our 11 campuses met all of the required framework areas,” Hanks said. “Also, five of our campuses earned at least one type of distinction.”According to a TEA press release, distinction designations were based on campus performances in relation to a comparison group of campuses.Curtis Elementary, Ikard Elementary, Hall Middle School and the WHS Ninth Grade Center all earned distinctions in Reading/ELA. Weatherford High School earned a Top 25 Percent Student Progress distinction.A Top 25 Student Progress distinction means a campus achieved the top quartile (top 25 percent) of performance on Index 2: Student Progress in relation to its campus comparison group. Distinctions in Reading/ELA means campuses achieved the top quartile (top 25 percent) in relation to its campus comparison group on 50 percent or more (elementary/middle schools) or 33 percent more (high schools) of their eligible measures in Reading/ELA.“Weatherford High School was one of only 1,991 campuses (out of 8,555 campuses) in the state to receive a distinction for achieving the Top 25 Percent in Student Progress,” Hanks said. “I am very proud of this accomplishment and salute both our students and employees at the high school campus for receiving this prestigious distinction.”Also, Weatherford ISD’s performance index scores were higher than the state’s percentages in all four areas (see above illustration). However, the TEA will continue to increase the rigors of the test each year through 2016.“A transition to a new accountability system comes with a great deal of uncertainty,” Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said in a prepared statement. “The 2013 ratings confirm that the vast majority of districts and campuses are meeting the standards and providing a quality education for our students.”Weatherford ISD was one of 975 Texas public school districts and 161 charter schools that received a “Met Standard” rating.According to the TEA, nearly five million students were enrolled in Texas public schools during the 2012-13 school year, and 10.5 million total tests were taken by those students in reading, mathematics, writing, science and social studies.