USD 408 has received an A+ rating from the Kansas State Department of Education for the 2012-13 school year.
Test scores, attendance, graduation rates, and facility conditions determine the rating. A+ is the highest rating awarded by the state.
“They look at our facilities over all and see how it compares to other districts in the state,” Superintendent Lee Leiker said. “I’m thrilled our efforts have received this recognition from the state.”
Leiker said he did not know about the rating until Marion Economic Development Director Roger Holter brought it to his attention.
“I did some research and found out that USD 408’s rating has been steadily increasing for the last five years,” Holter said. “It means more students are achieving and exceeding expectations the state has.”
He believes the aquatic center, sports facility, and performing arts center have helped increase the rating from the state.
“We have a lot of good things to offer students here,” Holter said. “The town has spent a lot of money in updates.”
Marion High School building is one of the oldest school buildings still operating in the state, according to Holter.
“If you walked into that building, you would never know it’s one of the oldest facilities west of the Mississippi,” he said.
Holter believes the rating will be a large draw for families in the area.
“It’s a good deal,” he said. “The town should be very proud to have a school system of this quality.”
Jerry Hess, whose son is a sophomore at USD 408, said he is pleased, but surprised about the rating.
“I’m surprised because I don’t remember it being this high, but I know that the district has been working hard to increase the rating,” he said. “The rating is good news and something to be proud of.”