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When LaRue County residents pay their school taxes, the money is making a bigger difference than in many other counties, according to a new report.
LaRue County Schools received an award Monday from the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, after the institute determined it was one of four “Diamonds in the Rough” districts that was highly efficient, spending less than the state average per student but having higher-than-average ACT test scores.
The other districts are Graves County, Eminence Independent and Mason County districts. The districts also have average or above-average numbers of low-income students, but still achieve these results.
The “Diamonds in the Rough” districts were identified through the institute’s new report, “Bang for the Buck: How Efficient are Kentucky’s Schools?”
LaRue has an average ACT score of 19.4 and spends $9,164 per student. The district has a 57 percent poverty rate.
Superintendent Sam Sanders said he was surprised when he learned of the report and award, but said the district has been recognized for this before. They were featured in an Education Week article in January 2011 after the Center for American Progress rated them as one of the 20 most efficient districts in the state, he said.
Sanders said his goal every day is for the district to do its best for students, not necessarily just to be “efficient;” however, he said considers whether each resource the district funds improves student performance.
“That’s kind of what drives everything,” he said.
District officials use data on student performance to make many decisions of how to spend the district’s money. They consider the student experience in other areas, including technology, transportation and food services.
“We want to try and get better every day,” he said.
He also credited the school board, administrators and teachers who perform at their best with the district’s success.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.