Value-added information pushed Reynoldsburg schools out of the "continuous improvement" category and into an "excellent" rating on the 2007-08 state report cards.

Superintendent Steve Dackin said last week that unofficial data showed the district was at a "continuous improvement" level, but cautioned that the value-added information had not yet been included.

Value-added data are used by the state to measure individual student progress from year to year. Dackin said for the first time this year, the state requires that if a district does not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind federal legislation, it will automatically be judged instead on the value-added data.

"We have been excellent or effective every year since the inception of the local report card," he said.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the Reynoldsburg district missed four of 30 indicators on the report card: fifth-grade mathematics and science, and eighth-grade social studies and science.

"I told you a week or so ago we were at the seventh-inning stretch point, and even with the four missed indicators, we could still be effective, and we are," Dackin told the school board at its Aug. 19 meeting. "And it's at a time when we continue to spend less money than other school districts who are, in some cases, not achieving at that level.

"I'm very proud of the performance of this district, but I can't say it's a home run. We still have work to do," he said.

Dackin said both Taylor Road Elementary and French Run Elementary schools earned "excellent with distinction" designations. The category is new this year.

"That means if you have all of your indicators and a performance index that exceeds the optimal amount, plus met Adequate Yearly Progress for all your subgroups, and all of your children in the building in reading and mathematics have grown above one year's growth in a year's time over two consecutive years," he said.

Six other buildings -- Reynoldsburg High School, Baldwin Road Junior High, Herbert Mills Elementary, Graham Road Elementary, Rose Hill Elementary and Slate Ridge Elementary -- were all rated excellent, while Hannah Ashton Middle School, Waggoner Road Middle School and Waggoner Junior High School were all rated effective on the state report card.

"That is a huge jump for us, so good things are happening, but having said all that, I'm still not happy until we get an A-plus on the rating and until we're a district that is excellent with distinction," Dackin said. "It's a tremendous tribute to our teachers, to our staff, our principals and others in this district that we're able to get that kind of educational bang out our educational buck."

Dackin said according to the most recent data from ODE for fiscal year 2006-07, the Reynoldsburg district spends less per pupil ($8,662) than any other school district in central Ohio, with the exception of the Hamilton Local school district, which spends $7,976.

South-Western City Schools spend $8,876 per pupil, he said. The Bexley school district spends the most per pupil in central Ohio ($13,236), Dackin said.

"I suspect by the time this year's data rolls out later this year for last fiscal year, that because of the cuts that we've already made, we'll be the lowest-per-pupil expenditure district in Franklin County," Dackin said. "I think that's a tribute to the way we've managed the district over the years," he said.