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Perry Central judged a Best Buy by state chamber

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By The Staff

LEOPOLD — Perry Central Junior-Senior High School is among a select group of high schools offering the highest educational achievement levels for the lowest amount of tax dollars. Those schools were recognized last week by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce with the release of the 11th edition of its Indiana's Best Buys report.

The study examined 357 Indiana public high schools with the appropriate available data. Using ISTEP+ pass rates, ISTEP+ Pass+ rates, graduation rates, SAT participation rates and average composite scores, and Advanced Placement passing scores, the chamber developed a total school performance index for each school.

This index, called the school's quality index, was then compared to each school's total revenues per pupil to determine "best buy" schools. From that list, "honor roll" schools were selected based on each school's at-risk student-poverty rate, as measured by participation in the federal free-reduced lunch program.

For 2009, 135 public high schools were designated as a "best buy" for giving taxpayers the most value for their money.  Two methods determined this honor. A school was named a best buy if it had a quality index above the state median and revenues below the state-wide median of $10,179 per student. The second method was by having a quality index ranking that was 20 percent  higher than the school's revenue ranking.

In addition, from the best buy group, 26 high schools were given the "honor roll" distinction for excelling academically despite having at-risk student demographics above the statewide median. For their exemplary efforts, the top five schools from the best buy and honor roll lists were then selected as "head of the class" members.

Forest Park Junior-Senior High School was another honoree and was chosen as one of 10 head of the class schools.

"All of the Best Buy schools are getting the utmost out of their taxpayer dollars by, in turn, delivering high-quality education to their students. This balancing act of limited funding while realizing a varied and competitive education is no easy task.  Businesses and communities in these areas should be very proud of what their schools are achieving and how their students are being readied for further education paths and a competitive job market," states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

The SAT and AP test data used in the Best Buys report was provided directly by the Indiana Department of Education; all other data was collected from Indiana Department of Education databases.

To view the report, visit Indiana's Best Buys, visit www.indianachamber. com/bestbuys.