Texas comptroller gives Keller ISD top rating for fourth year in a row

01/22/2014 3:50 PM

01/22/2014 3:51 PM

For the fourth year in a row, Keller has been named a 5 star district in the Texas Comptroller’s Financial Allocation Study of Texas, or FAST report.

FAST rates every district and charter school system in the state based on spending and academic performance.

Five stars go to districts that have very low spending and high academic progress compared to other districts.

State wide, 55 districts and charter schools achieved five stars but just 11 of those, or 1 percent, have had the rating four times, every year they have been evaluated.

“I think the key for us is consistency. We have consistently met this standard,” said Superintendent Randy Reid.

Surrounding districts ranged from three stars for Birdville with average spending and average academic progress to four and a half stars for Carroll and Grapevine-Colleyville, both with low spending and high progress.

Northwest earned three and a half stars for average spending and above average progress. The academic progress measure is based on the average of three years of progress in math, reading scores and how the district’s composite progress score compared to other districts in the state.

Progress scores were sorted into percentiles: 80 to 99, 60 to 79, 40 to 59, 20 to 39 and below 20. Keller and Grapevine-Colleyville both scored in the 87th percentile, Northwest in the 77th percentile and Carroll and Hurst-Euless-Bedford in the 96th percentile.

Reid said district officials have had to work to maintain strong academics with low funding.

Mark Youngs, chief financial officer, said that Keller receives about $700 less per student in funding than the state average. In a report on the district’s finances Youngs said that Keller was penalized for having a tax rate below the maximum cap when the education funding formula was changed in 2006.

Reid said the rating is a nice acknowledgment of what the district’s finance and academic teams have achieved. “The challenges are different in other school districts, so this really isn’t a condemnation of them,” he said.

Officials would like to improve on Keller’s 87th percentile performance and that more money could help, Reid said.

“There’s still a gap in performance, so additional resources would be a help,” he said. “It’s not all about the money, but still there are needs that could be addressed.”

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