District Report Card

State report provides overview of progress being made
Posted on 01/07/2013

The District Report Card for Poplar Bluff Schools has been made available by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for the public to compare our most recent performance data and demographics with state averages.

“Of course there are a lot of success stories hidden within the data, but this always provides a general snapshot for community stakeholders as to how our school has been performing,” said R-I Superintendent Chris Hon, who went over the report during the Dec. 20 school board meeting.

One of the goals school officials have been working toward is improving the attendance rate which, according to the report card, has steadily increased over the past three years to 94.2 percent. It should be noted this is an average over the entire school population.

Since DESE passed a waiver lifting the sanctions required under the No Child Left Behind Act, new accountability standards will require 90 percent of students to attend school 90 percent of the time, as schools shift to Common Core State Standards, according to Patty Robertson, assistant superintendent of curriculum.

“While maintaining our accreditation and holding these high standards is extremely important, our day-to-day challenge is to break these district-wide numbers down to helping individual students succeed, tying it all back to our mission,” Hon continued, referring to the school’s mantra: Achieving excellence through learning: every child, every hour, every day.

Poplar Bluff has 11 percent more students entering two-year higher education institutions than the average school in Missouri. Along with the proximity to Three Rivers College, this trend is attributed to the number of students taking advantage of the A+ Scholarship Program. Approximately 130 seniors are on track to qualify for the state program this school year, according to A+ Coordinator Barbie Hon.

One area in which school officials expect to see improvement next school year when another cohort of students comes through the system are graduation rates, since additional intervention has been made available, administrators pointed out. The school district instated its Graduation Center in 2010, offering credit recovery services to Junior and Senior High students so those at risk of dropping out have the opportunity to graduate with their respective class.

Enrollment has increased to 5,055, by over 300 students since 2009, the report states. According to a demographics study conducted last year, this spike will continue over the next decade, thus, the Long-Range Planning Committee is presently negotiating with St. Louis-based design firm Ittner Architects to create a facilities master plan.

The District Report Card shows how unique the division of Poplar Bluff’s revenue sources is in that our local tax base makes up about 15 percent less of the operational budget as compared to most other schools. Meanwhile state and federal taxes comprise 58.4 percent of the budget, which is equivalent to what the average local tax base generates for schools in Missouri.

While foundation formula funding from state revenues has fallen short since 2010, Poplar Bluff residents continue to get “the best bang for their buck,” according to Chris Hon, considering citizens currently pay only $2.93 per $100 of assessed valuation – the lowest of Southeast Missouri’s four largest schools, including Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Sikeston, the superintendent explained.

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