The Cobb County School District once again has shown that it not only is one of the highest performing districts in the Atlanta metropolitan area but it also does so with financial efficiency and equitable funding across all school levels.
Studying the numbers released today from the Georgia Department of Education one quickly notices that Cobb’s schools are funded through both state and local funds at almost identical rates across each level (elementary, middle, and high school). What this means is that no matter what school a student attends within the district, they are going to receive the same amount of financial support as they would anywhere else. The equitable distribution of state and local funding means that every single student in the Cobb County School District is provided the very best chance to be successful.
Also, for the fourth consecutive year, the Georgia Department of Education awarded the Cobb County School District 3.5 stars for financial efficiency. The District’s rating is based on Cobb’s 3-year average CCRPI score of 81 and the state percentile rank of the 3-year average of per-pupil expenditures (PPE). The 3-year average for the Cobb County School District’s per-pupil expenditures is $8,833 which is also one of the lowest in the metropolitan area. Put simply, the District uses fewer dollars per student than most of its peers (by thousands of dollars) and does more academically with fewer dollars to do it with. Neighboring Marietta City, Fulton County, and DeKalb County schools receive and spend approximately $1,500 more per student and Atlanta Public Schools receives and spends over $5,000 more per student!
Georgia’s Financial Efficiency Star Rating provides a comparison of district spending per student with overall academic performance. The per pupil calculation excludes non-classroom, non-K-12 expenditures like adult education, capital projects, and food and nutrition.
Historically, the Cobb County School District has maximized the allocated per pupil expenditures to achieve the highest level of student success as is evident by Cobb students’ scores on the SAT, ACT, and other tests. The Cobb County School District generally spends less per student than other area Districts, and yet, Cobb students continually outpace their state and national peers.
The Cobb County School District’s state financial efficiency score is more evidence of Cobb’s strong financial management. The Cobb County School District has also maintained a AAA Credit Rating since 2015. That’s the highest credit rating available for a government entity.
The AAA credit rating reflects the district’s sizable and diverse tax base in suburban Atlanta and a stable financial position, bolstered by formal operating and financial policies, conservative budgeting, proactive management, and an above average pension burden, mitigated by the absence of any long-term debt. Last year, only 14 states held the credit rating equal to the Cobb County School District.
Prudent financial management continues to be a guiding principle of the Cobb County School District, which is why Financial Sustainability is one of the District’s Legislative Priorities for 2018-2019.