PUTNAM COUNTY — Two Putnam County Schools, Kalida and Columbus Grove, have placed in the top 50 schools in Ohio in the U.S. News Best High School rankings released last week. The U.S. News & World Report, a nationally recognized publisher of education news and information, announced Kalida High School ranked 19 within Ohio and Columbus Grove ranked 33. Ohio has 832 high schools.

U.S. News analyzed more than 31,200 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The schools were evaluated in three phases. The first two steps looked at overall student performance on state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively schools educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. They then used participation in and performance on AP and IB exams to evaluate how well schools prepared students for college-level course work.

Kalida was awarded a gold award and ranked 434 nationally in the report. Columbus Grove received a silver award and a national ranking of 710.

“It is a combination of things that resulted in this accomplishment,” said Kalida Superintendent Don Horstman. “We have great families and students, great teachers and a wide variety of programs.”

Horstman said although the ranking is for high schools, he credits the award as a K-12 award since the foundation for the students’ education begins in elementary school.

“The expectations are high from our teachers and staff,” said Horstman. “We shoot for scores above minimum.”

“I am very proud of our students and staff for their accomplishment,” said Columbus Grove Superintendent Nick Verhoff. “We are very fortunate to live in a community where parents and community members place a high priority on the education of its young people.”

“We are proud to be in the top four percent in the state in terms of the academic ratings, but we are also very pleased with the fact that we do this at nearly $3,500 less per student (30 percent less) compared to the top fifty high schools in the state of Ohio,” Verhoff said.

Of the top 50 schools listed by U.S. News, Columbus Grove and Kalida had the lowest FY 13 expenditure per pupil. Columbus Grove was $8,042 and Kalida was $8.590 per pupil. In Ohio the average expenditure per pupil for the top 50 was $11,519.22.

Horstman credits everybody coming together to make financial decisions.

“Fiscally we went through some tough cuts three years ago,” Horstman said. He said the cuts were shared by everyone including staff and parents. “It’s a credit to our teaching staff that they helped us through the tough times and our school board helped make some tough decisions.”

Horstman also credits great people teaching the Advanced Placement Elective subjects in the school.

“Things like pay-to-participate, bussing cuts, and calamity days as furlough days are never popular, but they have allowed us to keep programming in place that is valuable to the kids,” he said.

Kalida was listed in the US News and World Report best schools in 2012 and 2013 also.