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Hartselle Enquirer

Dropout rate for county system higher than state average

By Staff
Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
More than 17 percent of the students who start at Morgan County schools will leave before they graduate, a number higher than the state average.
The figures were part of a report card released last week by the Alabama Department of Education. The annual report details system and school progress in a variety of areas, including standardized test scores, attendance and graduation rates.
Morgan County's dropout rate is 17.87, higher than the state average of 13.3.
The dropout rate can be misleading, however. The state determines the dropout rate by examining the number of ninth grade students who are projected to leave school prior to graduation as opposed to an actual number tied to a specific year.
The highest dropout rate among county high schools was reported by Brewer High School. Brewer's dropout rate is 21.37 percent, earning it a D minus on its report card.
The lowest dropout rate was reported at Priceville High with 5.33 percent. Other drop-out rates were: West Morgan High School, 19.35; Falkville High, 17.49; and Danville High, 13.96.
Access to computers with internet access
On average, Morgan County students have more access to computers with internet access than other students across the state. On average, there are 3.3 students per computer with internet access, compared to 4.6 students per computer with internet access throughout the state.
Students at two schools, however, have less access to computers with internet access than their counterparts in the state. There are 5.8 students per computer at Priceville High School and 5.4 students per computer at West Morgan High School.
Students have the best access to computers with internet access at Eva School and Cotaco School, where there are 2.1 pupils per computer.
Highly qualified teachers
Morgan County has fewer highly qualified teachers in core subjects than the state average. Seventy-two percent of Morgan County's teachers in core subjects, defined as English, history, math, economics and art, compared to 75 percent in the state.
The state started evaluating the number of Highly Qualified Teachers as a result of 2001's No Child Left Behind Act.
Eight Morgan County schools fall below the state average for Highly Qualified Teachers in core subjects. They are: Priceville Elementary (48 percent); Lacey's Spring School (58 percent); Priceville High School (59 percent); West Morgan Elementary (60 percent); Union Hill (63 percent); West Morgan High School (64 percent); Danville High School (66 percent); and Falkville Elementary School (71 percent).
The highest number of Highly Qualified teachers are at Falkville High School with 85 percent.
Discipline reports
The state tracks severe discipline problems, such as assaults, bomb threats, drugs or weapons-related offenses.
Eighteen incidents were reported from Brewer High School: nine weapon-related offenses, eight drug-related and one assault.
Other reports included: Cotaco School, two assaults; Danville High, two weapon offenses; Danville Middle, four assaults, one drug offense; Falkville Elementary, one weapon offense; Falkville High School, one drug offense and four weapons offenses; Priceville High School, two assaults, three drug offenses; Ryan School, one assault; Union Hill, three assaults, two drug and three weapon offenses; West Morgan High School, six assaults, two drug and one weapon offense.
Career and technical training
Morgan County students who take career and technical training do well when it comes to finding a job in their chosen field. One-hundred percent of students in the system's career and technical training classes were placed in jobs in a related field or attended college. Fifty-eight percent of Morgan County students were enrolled in technical classes, compared to the state average of 55 percent
The ACT is required by for entrance in many Alabama colleges. The average score in Morgan County is 21.1, compared to 20.4 in the state. The Southeastern average is 20.1 and the national average is 20.9. Danville High students earned an average of 22 and Brewer students earned a 21.2. Falkville High students averaged 21. Scores weren't available for Priceville High School.
Morgan County receives the bulk of its funding – some 40 percent – from the state. Twenty-eight percent is generated by local taxes and 21 percent is classified as other funding sources. The rest comes from local school funds and federal funds.
The system spends 65.2 percent of its money on instruction. Some 8.3 percent goes to operation and maintenance; 6.6 for food service; and 5.8, each, for transportation and debt service.
Some 5.2 goes to capital projects and 2.7 is used for administration costs.
The system spends some $7,108 per year per student, earning it a "B" in the state, but a C plus in the southeast. Nationally, Morgan County earns a C minus in spending per student.
Morgan County also earns a C in the amount of revenue collected locally for schools.
The mills equivalent figure is determined by dividing the total amount of locally collected revenue by the value of one regular system mill of ad valorem tax. Morgan County's average is 29.58. The state average is 30.97.