Governor discusses success guidelines

? An audit of four “resource efficient” school districts shows there is no “silver bullet” to success, but there are some general guidelines, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor’s audit covered the Olathe, Geary County, Scott County and Arkansas City districts.

The study found that school districts that spend efficiently focus on reading and math, invest new money in instruction, aggressively recruit, retain and train teachers, and follow a districtwide business plan.

She said her office would share the results with school boards statewide.

Sebelius said the report should be especially helpful to schools this year because the Legislature, under pressure from the Kansas Supreme Court, increased school funding by $290 million.

“We deserve efficient schools,” Sebelius said.

She said the audit findings reiterated common-sense approaches to improving schools, but she cautioned that what worked in the four districts studied wouldn’t necessarily be successful in all districts.

“There is no silver bullet,” she said.

For example, she said, the Olathe school district actively recruits less-experienced teachers, who earn less, but then the district focuses on training and retention.

The audits were done as part of a $400,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo.