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      School achieves high scores despite low funding

      The Crawford Au Sable school district has achieved academic excell e nce despite being one of the lowest funded schools in the state.

      O ver the last decade , G rayling High School teacher Ron Rakoczy has had his budget cut in half.

      "Y ou just have to be creative and resourceful ," Rakoczy said. "I f you're resourceful person , you will find a way to have a good outcome ."

      T he district has cut more than $7.5 million and 100 staff positions in the last ten years. And are one of the lowest funded schools in the state.

      "Y ou do the best with what you have and then you run with it ," Rakoczy said.

      B ut that hasn't hindered them when it comes to student success.

      B ridge Magazine named them an academic state champ. They were ranked the top traditional public school in the state based on test scores and other factors.

      H ow'd they do it?

      "T echnology levels the playing field ," Joe Powers, Crawford Au Sable Schools Superintendent said. "W ith 65% poverty rates we need technology in order to take our kids to the same level to kids in other areas of the state ."

      T he first thing they did was preserve technology in the classroom. W ith the community's help , they put an i P ad into every students hands.

      T he next step was to offer students more one-on-one time with teachers. T hey added mentor programs for kids in higher grades and they kept class sizes low for younger students.

      "W e actually have class sizes and the teens in the early elementary , because we think it will pay off in the long run ," Powers said.

      Powers admit s that everyone had to make sacrifices , but he said the staff was willing to do best for the students.

      "Y es we would like more money , everybody would like more money , but the reality is we have what we have, we ' re trying to do the best darn thing we can do for our students ," Powers said.