Newton County School System (NCSS) has received a 4-Star Financial Efficiency Rating from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). This marks the first year the state has released Financial Efficiency Star Ratings for school districts. According to the GaDOE, the ratings are based on data from the 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 academic years.
The Financial Efficiency Star Rating measures an individual school district’s per-pupil spending in relation to the academic achievements of its students. Each school district receives a rating ranging from one-half to five stars, with five-star districts being described as having strong academic outcomes and lower levels of expenditures, proportionate to the district’s size, in comparison with other districts.
Newton County School System earned a 4-Star rating based on its three-year average of per-pupil expenditures and College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores.
“The four star rating indicates clearly that we expend our resources on instruction for our students,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “We work diligently to ensure our instructional needs are the priority, and the data reflects that our laser-like focus has led to above average results considering our per-pupil expenditures. In terms of our percentile ranking, we rank among the bottom 16th percentile when it comes to available funds, yet, we have been able to post above average CCRPI scores. The Newton County Board of Education is tasked with approving a budget that put students first; our four star rating reflects their commitment.”
According to Georgia law, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), in coordination with the GaDOE, must create a financial efficiency rating. Specifically, it requires the development of “indicators of the quality of learning by students, financial efficiency, and school climate for individual schools and for school systems.” Next year, the state plans to release Financial Efficiency Star ratings for individual schools as well as districts.
The law states that financial efficiency “may include an analysis of how federal and state funds spent by local school systems impact student achievement and school improvement, and components used to determine financial efficiency may include actual achievement, resource efficiency, and student participation in standardized testing.”
“The Newton County School System’s student-focused budget process ensures tax-payers receive the maximum benefit for their investment,” added Fuhrey. “Our school and system staff are to be commended for their continued exemplary preparation of a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of our students. We monitor our budget throughout the year in an effort to make certain that we are always in good financial standing.”