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Comal ISD Earns Five-Star Rating

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Comal ISD earned a five-star rating in June from Texas Smart Schools, an online collaboration between former State Comptroller Susan Combs and Texas A&M.

The district is one of 44 independent school districts, statewide, to be recognized by the non-profit as a 2016 Texas State Comptroller Five-Star District and the only school district in the San Antonio metropolitan area.

Recognized school districts must combine cost-effective spending with measurable student academic process.

According to information on TXSmartSchools.org, Comal ISD demonstrated very low spending — $6,975.67 cost-adjusted — compared to its fiscal peers.

High Academic Progress

The district, which has approximately 21,000 students, showed “very high academic progress at or above 83 percent of all districts.” Comal ISD’s Texas Education Agency Rating is “Met Standard.”

Comal ISD School Board President Stephen Smith said he’s pleased with the district’s progress. In 2011, Comal ISD earned only two and one-half stars.

“This five-star ranking and the dramatic improvement of academic performance in Comal ISD is a credit to the vision of that (2011) board and to the leadership of Superintendent Andrew Kim, but most to the men and women of the district and their commitment to academic excellence and financial stewardship,” Smith said in a press release posted to the district’s website.

Kim credits Comal district and staff. “We spend a lot of time ensuring we’re efficient, and at the same time, the number one job is to educate and prepare kids for the future,” he said.

Five-Star Designation

“We certainly celebrate this five-star designation, but we will continue to work to find areas where we need to get better next year.”

Combs used leftover campaign money to create Texas Smart Schools, previously known as Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST), which in 2014 ranked Comal at or above 82 percent of all districts statewide.

Lori Taylor, director of Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, said other school districts in the state should look to Comal ISD “for guidance in how to achieve great things in a cost-effective way.”

TXSmartSchools.org uses recognized statistical methods to create apples-to-apples comparison measures for both performance and spending.

“We see this as an essential tool for educators who are seeking to learn from the best practices of similarly situated schools,” she said.

Specific data can be downloaded from TXSmartSchools.org.

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