when rankings really matter
I fully admit I do my fair share of benchmarking. You can learn a lot from ranking things, but a lot of times the interpretation can be overblown. Here is a case where rankings may cost real $$. I am reading in Bond Buyer that Congressman Doyle is fighting some provision on how the 'top 100' school districts are counted. Who cares eh?
Turns out that part of the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) is a bond program for school districts called the QSCB (Qualified School Construction Bond) program. The program, of which I knew little until reading this, has 40% of it's spending limited to the 100 largest school districts. The remainder goes to states. Apparently the City of Pittsburgh School District is close to being ranked literally number 100.
So close that if school districts in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Hawaii are included, the city school district does not come in as one of the top 100 and thus becomes ineligible for these bonds. The congressman is opposed to those school districts being ranked against the Pittsburgh School District. The argument is that for those school districts are essentially state-wide districts and states receive money separately via this program. That's all I know, but seems to be a rare case where the details of the counting really really matter. Any school finance beat reporters out there?
Now to play with numbers though. If the largest school district in the county/region is barely in the top 100 school districts nationally... what does that say about the comparative level of school district fragmentation here?