Local schools over-perform median income


By Megan Neary - mneary@aimmediamidwest.com



Local school districts scored better on their 2018 Ohio school report cards than would be expected given the median income of residents in these districts, according to data from cleveland.com.

The data shows a strong positive correlation between a district’s median income and the district’s report card grade. The data showed that the average median income of “A” districts was $67,660, for “B” districts it was $44,666, for “C” districts, it was $38,097, for “D” districts, it was $33,682, and for “F” districts, it was $26,363.

Ohio School Report Cards provide a snapshot of a district’s performance by grading six components that are considered to be crucial to a school’s success: achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation rate, improvement of at-risk K-3 readers, and preparation for success. These six components are then used to give the district an overall grade.

With a median income of $29,157, the Washington Court House City School District’s income falls between the average median income of “D” and “F” school districts. In actuality, however, the district received a grade of “C.” The district’s performance index placed it as 446th in the state, while its median income ranked it at 569th. This means the school’s performance ranked 123 places above its income. As a result, the district ranked 99 in a listing of school district performance once adjusted for income.

Washington Court House City Schools Superintendent Tom Bailey said, “We stress that our students can learn anything that any students in the state of Ohio can learn.” He said the district has “some challenges,” but, “I think we’re doing wonderful things.”

One of the challenges the district faces, according to Bailey, is that “we are doing some catch up with our students.” He said this challenge is overcome by “making sure that we have good literacy plans in place.” In addition, the city’s “very, very good preschools” help to prepare young students for success.

With a median income of $35,413 the Miami Trace Local School District’s income, like that of the Washington Court House district, falls between the average income of “D” and “F”-grade schools. The district, however, earned a grade of “C.” The district’s median income ranks 419 in the state, but its performance index ranked it 234. So, the difference between index rank and income rank is 185. This resulted in a rank of 45 for school performance adjusted for income.

Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis said the school’s high income-adjusted ranking “shows that we meet our students’ needs no matter where they are when they come to us,” adding, “Our staff works extremely hard to help our students grow.” He also stressed that “students can succeed no matter where they come from.”

Lewis also said the way in which Ohio schools are funded was ruled to be unconstitutional in the case of DeRolph v. State in 1997. At the time, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that the state funding system “fails to provide for a thorough and efficient system of common schools.”

Despite this ruling, “no real changes have been made,” according to Lewis, who said, “I look forward to a day when they come out with an equitable plan. I don’t know if there is a perfect answer.”

In the meantime, though, Lewis said, “I’m very proud of our staff and students and we’re going to keep pressing ahead and helping our students grow.”

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By Megan Neary

mneary@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2

Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2