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Santa Gertrudis Independent School District

Santa Gertrudis Independent School District proudly serves 278 students, making it one of the smallest school districts my Texas School Performance Review (TSPR) has studied. This very small district with its very small budget taught us some very valuable lessons about cooperation and efficiency.

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Boundaries mean nothing to all of the school districts located in Kleberg County. As Education Watchdog for the state of Texas, I was excited to see how well these districts worked together to ensure that their students get the best education possible.

Teachers and staff at Santa Gertrudis ISD are actively involved in the students’ well being, both at school and at home, and are committed to help students succeed. The district has taken a number of innovative and cost-efficient steps to reach out to the community and parents. I commend them for their involvement in the students’ lives.

It is this commitment that has helped the rise in student scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). In 1998-99, 72.3 percent of all Santa Gertrudis ISD students passed the TAAS, compared to 63.4 percent in 1994-95.

Overall, the review team found Santa Gertrudis ISD to be a well-run district. The district has concentrated its efforts for several years on developing a bold concept for educating students at the high school level. In partnership with Driscoll ISD and Texas A&M - Kingsville, Santa Gertrudis has focused on reducing the large percentage of students who were dropping out of school after the ninth grade. Today, the district is experiencing a zero percent dropout rate.

Like any good district, Santa Gertrudis ISD still has room for improvement. The district has no cohesive, long-term strategic plan. While the district has several plans, they are not connected to each other nor to the district’s budget. These plans also lack detailed strategies to achieve district’s goals, as well as methods to evaluate progress. We recommend the district create such a plan as soon as possible.

Our review also found that the district did not offer hot school lunches to students at the elementary/middle school, 60 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged, nor does the district participate in the National School Breakfast/School Lunch program. By simply seeking federal reimbursement for the breakfasts that Santa Gertrudis ISD already serves at the elementary/middle school, the district could realize more than $18,500 in additional revenues each year.

Inside the report, you will find 27 recommendations could result in net savings of $156,377 over the next five years. One of my 10 Principles for Texas in the 21st Century is to redirect more of every education dollar in the classroom–and these recommendations will help the district do just that.

Santa Gertrudis ISD can be proud of the district it has built, and should be commended for wanting to improve even further. I am confident that school board members, school administrators, teachers and parents are all committed to making the district the best it can be for their students.

Carole Keeton Rylander's Signature
Carole Keeton Rylander
Comptroller of Public Accounts