Comptroller Releases 2012 “FAST” Ratings for Texas Schools 9/19/12
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
September 19, 2012
(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has updated the Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST) with new ratings measuring academic progress and cost-effective operations in school districts and charter schools across Texas. FAST ratings are updated annually using the most recent data from the Texas Education Agency.
The 2012 FAST ratings are assigned to 1,136 school districts and charter schools. Based on the FAST formula, school districts and campuses receive ratings from one to five stars, in half-star increments. A district that achieves the highest rating of five stars ranks among the top 20 percent of all Texas school districts in academic progress, while keeping expenditures among the lowest 20 percent of fiscally comparable districts.
Forty-five districts received the highest rating of five stars. FAST information for all Texas public school districts, campuses and charter schools is available at http://www.FASTEXAS.org.
“This is the second annual update to our groundbreaking FAST study released in 2010,” Combs said. “Educators and the public can use the FAST online tool to compare their districts with similar districts around the state using indicators ranging from dropout rates to transportation spending. This year we included some new items to help give parents and taxpayers further insight.”
The new additions to the FAST website include the following:
•Information on each district’s outstanding debt and annual debt service by total, amount per student and amount per district resident.
•Additional college readiness indicators by school district, including the percentage of students who pass each section of the state’s college readiness standards.
The website also offers examples of “Smart Practices” used by Texas school districts to achieve greater efficiency and enhance student performance. Smart Practices can be emulated by other districts and are intended to spark new solutions to the cost of delivering a quality education.
The 2009 Texas Legislature mandated that the Comptroller create a method to fairly compare the state’s diverse school districts. When comparing district and campus spending, the FAST methodology groups districts and campuses into sets of “fiscal peers” that operate in similar cost environments, including regional wages, district size and student characteristics.