Texoma Schools Graded By State

A groundbreaking study that affects every child who goes to school in Texoma was released on Wednesday.

For the first time, the state comptrollers office compared students math and reading scores with how much a district spends. Only one school district had the highest mark out of all Texoma's schools: Windthorst ISD. Students there improved math levels by 93% over 3 years while the district had a very low spending index.

Comptroller Susan Combs says the study's purpose was to see the right level of money needed to advance Texoma and the rest of Texas, especially in a time of budget cuts. The superintendent of the Wichita Falls Independent School District agrees.

"It looks at how are we allocating the resources that's available to school districts and how are those resources being used to student performance," says Dr. George Kanzanas.

Two Texoma school districts received the lowest grade. Bright Ideas Charter School in Wichita Falls and Byers ISD. The study suggests these districts spend the most money -- with poor student performance.

Byers Superintendent Steve Wolf said Byers is one of the smallest, poorest districts that doesn't have money to blow. He explained it costs the school the same amount of money to provide student services, such as transportation, meals, and building maintenance, if the school has 50 students or 200 students. Currently, Byers only has 78 students.

Some also disapprove of the way student performance is measured. The study bases student academics off of one test, the Taks test, instead of a grade point average.

"That is the criticism of our state accountability system, is that we do put a lot of stock into the fact that students come in and take an exam and it's a one day shot only of their performance, their potential, and their capabilities," explains Dr. Kanzanas.

Yet the state has ways to improve your student's schools. Methods suggested are to cut personnel and switch from text books to more Internet friendly resources, something a lot of districts in Texoma have already done.

Mary Moloney, Newschannel 6