CCSD Earns High Marks from State for Financial Efficiency!

CCSD Earns High Marks from State for Financial Efficiency!

Category : CCSD

Financial Efficiency Ratings Chart

The Cherokee County School District has earned high marks from the State for its financial efficiency!

The State’s Financial Efficiency Star Rating system measures school district’s spending per student in relation to those students’ academic performance according to the College and Career Ready Performance Index. Ratings range from a half a star to five stars, which is the highest possible.

The Cherokee County School District has earned 4.5 stars, which is not only an increase from 2017’s rating of 4, but also is among the best ratings in the State! Only nine school districts, including CCSD, of the 180 districts in Georgia earned a 4.5, and only three earned a 5. The rating earned by CCSD also is tied for the best among metro Atlanta county school districts!

“Our School Board is known for its strong financial stewardship, our educators are known for their determination to help every student succeed, and these ratings back up that well-deserved reputation,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Despite the financial challenges of continued State austerity budget cuts and rising healthcare and benefits costs, we remain committed to keeping our focus on the classroom and using our taxpayers’ investment in our community’s future wisely.”

The State’s new rankings also show the CCSD’s average per-pupil spending of $7,949 is among the lowest in Georgia. Of the 180 school districts in Georgia, only 21 spend less… putting CCSD in the top 15% for conservative spending.

In addition to district scores, the Department of Education and Governor’s Office of Student Achievement this year published ratings for individual schools. Those schools with higher rates of poverty and which qualify for additional funding through the federal Title I program earn lower ratings due to the formula used.

“Parents should not be misled by these lower scores,” Dr. Hightower said of the ratings earned by CCSD’s Title I schools. “We invest more in these schools and the academic gains come more slowly, but those gains are worth every extra minute and every extra dollar. These children, who face the greatest challenges and are the most at risk in our community, must not be left behind.”


CCSD Credit Rating Continues to Improve, Save Taxpayer Dollars

Category : CCSD

The Cherokee County School District’s credit rating continues to improve — an achievement that saves taxpayer dollars.

The School District’s already positive Aa3 and AA- levels, as rated by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s financial service companies, were upgraded this week to Aa2 and AA- Positive, another step toward the goal of acquiring the top AAA rating from both agencies.

“A perfect rating is our goal, which is a challenge, as factors such as State funding and the local economy are considered, but we’re up the challenge,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting CCSD’s Division of Financial Management led by Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Owen deserves high praise for its efforts to upgrade the rating. “Our credit rating impacts costs including rates for insurance and for borrowing, and continuous improvement saves taxpayer dollars by keeping those rates low.”

Moody’s upgraded its rating to Aa2 from Aa3 to reflect CCSD’s improved financial position, as a result of strong revenue performance, enhanced expenditure controls and replenished reserves, and improved revenue due to an expanding tax base as the local and State economy recovers. The company specifically noted among CCSD’s credit strengths its use of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) proceeds to retire bond debt from school construction and other capital infrastructure costs.

Standard & Poor’s revised the outlook on its AA- rating to Positive from Stable, which reflects an opinion of “improved financial performance” and points to an increasing likelihood of achieving AAA within the next two years if CCSD’s funding reserves continue at current levels or increase.

The company cited as strengths CCSD’s operating performance, strong available fund balance and moderate overall debt coupled with local economy and tax base growth. Standard & Poor’s also upgraded CCSD’s management score to Good from Standard, noting improved financial operations, such as budget development and monitoring, in the past two fiscal years.

Dr. Hightower said efforts are underway to further improve CCSD’s financial position including an adjustment of the tax collection timeline to as it relates to the timing of the annual infusion of local tax dollars into the operating budget.