Greencastle High earns Best Buy designation

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Greencastle Senior High School was among 132 schools statewide to be named one of Indiana's Best Buys by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

GHS superintendent Robert Green called the recognition "Really, really great news."

Best Buy schools are those that "offer the highest educational achievement levels for the lowest amount of funding," a report from the Indiana Chamber said.

This is the 10th year for the Best Buy program. Three hundred forty-nine schools were examined via a study conducted by the chamber. Public and charter schools were included in the study.

Using ISTEP+ pass rates, ISTEP+ Pass+ rates, graduation rates, SAT participation rates and average composite scores, and Advanced Placement (AP) passing scores, the Indiana Chamber developed a total school performance index for each school.

This index, called the school's quality index, was then compared to each school's total revenues per pupil to determine "best buy" schools.

From that list, "honor roll" schools were selected based on each school's at-risk student-poverty rate, as measured by participation in the federal free-reduced lunch program.

For 2008, 132 public high schools were designated as a "best buy" for giving taxpayers the most value for their money. Two methods determined this honor.

A school was named a best buy if it had a quality index above the state median and revenues below the statewide median of $9,313 per student. The second method was by having a quality index ranking that was 20 percent higher than the school's revenues.

In addition, from the best buy group, 23 high schools were given the "honor roll" distinction for excelling academically despite having at-risk student demographics above the statewide median. For their exemplary efforts, the top five schools from the best buy and honor roll lists were then selected as "head of the class" members.

The 2008 "head of the class" schools were:

* Batesville High School (Ripley County)

* Castle High School in Newburgh (Warrick County)

* Center Grove High School in Greenwood (Johnson County)

* Hamilton Southeast-ern High School in Fishers (Hamilton County)

* Hauser Jr.-Sr. High School in Hope (Bartholomew County)

* Monroe Central Jr.-Sr. High School, Parker City (Randolph County)

* North Central High School in Indianapolis (Marion County)

*North Harrison High School in Ramsey (Harrison County)

*Rushville Consolidated High School (Rush County); and

*Signature School in Evansville (Vanderburgh County).

"All of these Best Buys schools are wisely using taxpayer dollars to educate and prepare Indiana's future workforce. While being responsible with the community's investment, these schools are delivering a quality education to our children - which is no easy feat. These communities should be proud of the schools' achievements as both they and the students are reaping the benefits," states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

All data used in the Best Buys report was collected from Indiana Department of Education databases.

This year, the Chamber further modified how it compared educational costs among schools. Last year's report examined total expenditures per student. In response to that, some schools noted that the accounting procedure for the Department of Education expenditure reports results in double counting of dollars that are transferred between funds. To compensate for that discrepancy, this year's report is determined by total revenues per student.

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