Education

How safe are Columbus area school districts compared to others? Here are the rankings.

In the wake of last month’s massacre at a Florida school, a website has a timely state-by-state ranking of the safest school districts in the nation.

With a grade of B-plus, Muscogee County is 46th out of 183 in Georgia, according to the 2018 Safest School Districts ranking by Niche.com, a Pittsburgh-based website that helps users select K-12 schools, colleges and neighborhoods.

Niche.com considers Muscogee County safer than the other school districts serving Georgia’s second-tier cities, which didn’t earn a numbered ranking among the state’s top 88 but received the following grades: Chatham County (Savannah) B-minus, Richmond County (Augusta) C-plus and Bibb County (Macon) C.

The safety rankings and grades for other Columbus area school districts in Georgia are: 7. Marion County (A-plus); 27. Harris County (A-minus) and 64. Talbot County (B). Troup County (C-minus), Chattahoochee County (C-minus) and Meriwether County (C-minus) aren’t ranked.

No safety rankings for individual schools are provided on the website.

Overall in Georgia, Niche.com ranks Buford City Schools as the state’s safest district.

In Alabama, the highest-ranked Columbus area district is Opelika 17th (A) out of 133, followed by Auburn 19th (A), Eufaula 42nd (A-minus), Lanett 44th (A-minus) and Lee County 56th (B-plus). Phenix City (B-minus), Chambers County (C) and Russell County (C-minus) are unranked.

Overall in Alabama, Niche.com ranks Hoover City Schools as the state’s safest district.

According to its website, Niche.com’s ranking is based on analyzing the most recent U.S. Department of Education data, mostly from 2014-16, along with millions of reviews from students and parents. The formula to produce the ranking comprises the following factors:

▪ Surveys of parents and students, self-reported by Niche.com’s users – 50 percent.

▪ Expenses per student – 10 percent.

▪ Percentage of students missing 15 or more days of class per school year -- 10 percent.

▪ Percentage of students receiving at least one in-school suspension -- 7.5 percent.

▪ Percentage of students receiving at least one out-of-school suspension – 7.5 percent.

▪ Percentage of students expelled from the district – 5 percent.

▪ Percentage of students referred to law enforcement – 5 percent.

▪ Percentage of students arrested for a school-related incident – 5 percent.

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