- By Ty Tagami The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Forsyth County Schools is the only district in metro Atlanta to receive the highest marks under Georgia’s “financial efficiency” measure for 2017.
The district, along with Oconee County Schools and Jefferson City Schools, received five points on the Financial Efficiency Star Ratings released Friday by the Georgia Department of Education. Atlanta Public Schools, meanwhile, had one of the worst scores in the state, with one and a half points.
The rating, required by state law, compares per-pupil spending with academic outcomes using a 3-year average of both spending and scores on the College and Career Ready Performance Index, the test-driven school report card. The scores can range from half a point to five points, in half point increments, though no district scored lower than one point.
Atlanta Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lisa Bracken said the school district has higher costs for several reasons: The expense of city living drives up teacher pay; the district has “low population” schools that lack economies of scale but are kept open “due to urban traffic constraints and community needs;” many students need extra services because they have learning problems or disabilities, don’t speak English fluently or come from poverty; and the district has a large unfunded pension liability with growing obligations.
Among the other districts in the heart of the metro area, Gwinnett and Cherokee counties had the next best scores, with four and a half points. Cobb and Coweta counties each had a point less. Fayette County had three points and the cities of Buford and Decatur had two and a half points. DeKalb and Fulton counties and Marietta each got two points.
More detailed results for school districts can be downloaded from this link, and school-level results can be downloaded here. The state education department offers more information here, and so does the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, here.
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