State takes Sumner off list of underperforming schools

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 21, 2003

Sumner Elementary School is off the state's list of underperforming schools.

After re-tallying the scores, the state Department of Education added 1.68 points to Sumner's total test results, raising the school's rating high enough to count under the adequate yearly progress rule.

A mistake by the Department of Education had left eight scores out of the total, while counting those students for enrollment. That lowered the school's average.

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Those scores were from students listed under special education. However, because they took the same test as the rest of the student body, their results should have been added to the total.

Adequate yearly progress means a school is making suitable progress toward meeting the standard set by the state. While Sumner's score is still below the standard, it is an improvement from the previous year's scores, so there will be no penalties.

Director of Educational Services Sheila Berger got the news today and said the new numbers allow the district to keep control over funding.

"It puts it back in our hands," she said. "We're not being dictated how to do that. We make those decisions ourselves."

Berger said there is still work to do to make sure Austin schools stay off the state list.

"District-wide, we still need to align ourselves more closely with the new standards," she said.

Had Sumner stayed on the list, it would have been the second consecutive test year below standards. The district would have had to provide busing for students who wish to attend a higher performing school. Money for the busing would have come from Title I funds.

The district is still short in one area, however Berger is not concerned.

Special Education participation for the whole district was short by two percentage points.

Berger said she is checking with the state to find out if the eight scores recently added will have an impact on the special education participation as well. Even if it is not, she said participation problems are much easier to fix than proficiency problems.

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by email at