School corporations all over the state are publishing their annual performance reports using 2009 data. Under Indiana code, the reports must be made available to local newspapers and published between Jan. 24 and Feb. 14. Today, the Pilot News publishes Plymouth, Argos, John Glenn and LaVille reports in the Classified/Legal section, beginning on page B3.
The reports are for 2009 after the ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus) was moved to the spring for grades 3-8 rather than being given in the fall as in previous years.
The Graduation Qualify-ing Examination was replaced by Algebra I and English 10 End of Course Assessments (ECAs) in 2009-10. Since the spring tests are not directly comparable to the fall tests and there are as yet no results from the ECAs, the 2009 Annual Performance Report includes fall 2008 tests results.
The 2010 Annual Perform-ance Report includes 2009 and 2010 ISTEP results and 2009-2010 ECA results.
The reports include expenditures, teacher salar-ies, and ISTEP scores.
Indiana’s education costs are approximately 39 percent of the state budget. In Indiana, the public school system (pre-kindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts overseen by locally elected or appointed school board members and superintendents. Indiana has 295 school districts.
According to the Indiana State Budget Agency, the state budget for the 2009-2011 biennnium totaled $53.79 billion. The education budget accounts for $20.8 billion or 38.7 percent of the total budget. During the 2007-2009 biennium, the education budget accounted for 30.4 percent or some $15.2 billion of the total budget.
According to the Indiana Department of Education the average annual teacher salary for the 2008-09 school year was $49,569, a $1,061 increase from the 2007-08 school year.
Superintendent Terry Barker, Union-North United Schools, said the LaVille Jr.-Sr. High School is on probationary status, just as are many other schools in the state.
Barker said, “I believe we will come off this. Our graduation rate has already improved using 2010 data.”
A public hearing on the matter has been scheduled for 6 p.m., just prior to the school board meeting at 7 p.m., tonight.
Barker said school patrons will also be given an opportunity to tour the school and see the renovations just completed.
“Our goal is to take a look at where we are and what do we need to do to improve,” he said.
Assistant Superintendent for the Plymouth Schools, Rodger Smith said, “We are really pleased with the performances across the board from our elementaries, intermediate, junior high, and high schools. We have work to do and we will keep on working.”
Smith said that although the graduation rate was down slightly, he does not feel that it is a trend and that it is going up.
John-Glenn Superintendent Dick Reese is also optimistic about the progress of the schools in the system he oversees. Reese said, “We are pleased with the results, but know that other improvements are needed.”
He believes that it takes students, teachers, and parents working together to provide a quality learning environment. “We are looking to improve our areas of weakness, maintain our areas of strength, and enhance all our programs,” he said.