Last week, Bob Mercer reported that at least three schools are appealing the new ratings issued by the state Department of Education a couple weeks ago. It will be interesting to see if the appeals (due this week Wednesday!) come from big schools, small schools, or a mix.
Madville Times sponsor and very small school Rutland is probably not one of the appealers. The small Lake County school district came out looking pretty good on the new scorecard, with the best rated junior high program in the state. Rutland's elementary program dropped significantly from last year's rating, but their junior high and high school performance jumped. Rutland High School's score ties Pierre Riggs and beats scores at 113 other ranked high schools.
The state's high school ratings excluded Rutland and a number of other small high schools, from the main listing, but of the nine schools that made the top "Exemplary" category, one (Groton) is a Class A school, and the other eight are Class B schools. The highest-scoring AA school is the smallest AA school, Spearfish (ranked 14th).
A Legislative committee is spending the summer studying the K-12 education funding formula. Among the perennial complaints they are hearing is that the funding formula is overly generous to small schools, some of which spend over $18,000 per student, versus less than $6,000 at some larger school districts. This discussion gets complicated and political. One could look at the high-ranking small schools and contend they are getting better results from the extra per-student funding the formula sends them. One could also look at larger struggling schools and contend they need more money per student to raise performance.
I suspect, however, that the Legislative response will be to throw all those numbers into some opaque statistical analysis, conclude that money has no effect on the quality of education, and let the funding formula be decided by who's got the most friends and political power. Rutland, Kadoka, other small schools, get ready to fight for your lives.