There is more than one way to measure the quality of education in a school district than just TAAS. Try these indicators.

More RISD students take college entrance exams than ever before and their scores continue to rise. The class of 2000 scored an average of 1077 on the SAT. Texas students average 993, compared to a national average of 1019.

Another indicator is course rigor. More students are taking Advanced Placement courses in our high schools. If they pass the end of course test, they can obtain college credit for the course.

All four RISD high schools were awarded grants from the Texas Education Association, recognizing the number of students passing AP exams. Lake Highlands High School received $24,100, JJ Pearce High School got $16,400, Richardson High School got $19,900 and Berkner High School got $21,400.

Last fall, Offspring magazine, in a study funded by The Wall Street Journal, named RISD one of the top 100 school districts in the country, from a field of over 15,000 districts nationwide. Their criteria included educational quality and economic health.

RISD enjoys the second highest credit rating of any school district in the state; Only one other district shares this distinction. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s base their evaluations upon not only the financial health of the district, but also upon the quality of the educational product being delivered and the community support for that product.

Because of this exceptional rating, coupled with good timing. RISD issued the first $95 million of our March $351 million bond program for an amazingly low 4.18%, This is 1.82% lower than our projections at 6%. It means we will save the taxpayers $5.8 million in interest expense over the life of these bonds.

Although RISD does not pay starting teachers the highest salary in the area, we still have no problems filling our classrooms. Each year we take over 4,000 applications for approximately 400 teaching positions.

Our graduates continue to excel. Two of USA Today’s list of top college graduates came from RISD. Marshawn Evans, a senior at Texas Christian University, made the First Team and Kristin Johnston, a senior at Rice, received Honorable Mention. Last year Marshawn was named one of the “Top 10 College Women of 2000” by Glamour magazine and was also awarded the prestigious Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship by the Justice Department.

In spite of the growing pressures of Robin Hood recapture, RISD is dedicated to delivering the highest quality education for our children.