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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 earns top ranking

On July 9, the Center for American Progress released a report on the return on educational investment of more than 10,000 schools nationwide. Falcon School District 49 was one of four Colorado school districts to earn the reportís top ranking, based on metrics used to measure each districtís productivity.According to the CAPís website, americanprogress.org, this is the second report of its kind. When the findings were first released in 2011, the results were ìworrisome and underscored the fact that the nation suffers from a productivity crisis.îIn a separate phone interview, Ulrich Boser, senior fellow at CAP and author of the report, said, ìThis was an effort to try to begin a conversation about how to get more bang for our buck from our schools. Our measures are deeply imperfect but what we looked at was reading and math scores compared to expenditures. We adjusted for things outside of the schoolís control and then came up with different rankings for each school district. Our rankings are able to show what schools are spending too much on or not enough on. School districts that are doing poorly should look at ones that are doing well to see what theyíre doing and how they can be more efficient.îBoser said the report was based on the financial records that each school district reported to the United States government.ìThe report is important given the nature of our consistency. They (CAP) require efficiency, and this report highlights our success,î said Brett Ridgway, D 49 chief business officer. Weíve been able to survive funding cuts and increase efficiency so that it (D 49) ranked on a report like this.ìA question we still get a lot is whether we are being wasteful or inefficient with our funds, and this just comes as an external validation of the fact that we are not. As weíve changed the quality of our financial reporting, weíve been able to validate that to ourselves and this is further validation of that.îMatt Meister, D 49 director of communications, said, ìWe are supposed to be good stewards of their (taxpayers) money and this is a direct measure of that from an outside source.Boser said the report is not about how to spend fewer dollars on education but how to spend money wisely, based on what works in education.

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