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Ellspermann Edition: Counties Receive Community Asset Inventory Report Card
Start Date: 4/13/2012
End Date: 4/13/2012
Entry Description

Most of us really don’t like to receive a grade score…unless we are assured an A or B.  That said, letter grades give us a strong indication of “where we stand”.  Last week Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research rolled out a new Community Asset Inventory grading each county on five key factors using state and national data.  And, to ensure all weren’t scored as “above average”, Ball State curved the grades ensuring similar amounts of A’s and F’s were awarded and that average performers received a C. Here is a summary of how District 74 counties performed:

(Please visit http://asset.cberdata.org/ to see District 74 counties' report cards)

The category entitled ‘people’ includes population growth, unemployment rate, and poverty rate, among other measures.  The category entitle ‘education’ includes not only ISTEP pass rates and graduation rates, but also our counties’ educational attainment (associate and bachelor’s degrees).  The category ‘health’ includes fertility rate, premature death rates, cancer incidents, asthma rate, and several other factors.  The ‘government’ category includes crime rate and tax rates, among others.  ‘Arts, entertainment and recreation’ include per capita income, employment in this area per 1,000 people, facilities available and accommodations.

As we can all agree, this is not a perfect report card.  We can shoot holes in almost any of these factors and propose better measures.  That said, these measures…and any refinements proposed…do paint a picture of our strengths and, at a minimum, hint at our weaknesses.  I would suggest that every county would do well to review the underlying scores to each grade on each factor.  Why?  Because Ball State has been able to show that counties scoring higher in the categories also have higher population growth and higher per capita incomes.  And, though we won’t be able to move the needle on all indicators, this may be a fruitful way of seeing to what extent our local actions are improving our competitiveness for job creation and quality of life.  You can review this study, the results and the underlying scores at http://asset.cberdata.org/.

In our work lives, education and sports, we measure what we do to see “how we stack up”.  Ball State has made a first attempt at helping our counties see how we compare to other counties across the state.  If I can assist any counties in working through this data, discerning what areas we have the greatest opportunity to improve, and/or linking you with the resources at Ball State who developed this report, please let me know.

-30-
Rep. Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand)

Contact Information:
Name: Heather Richey
Phone: 317-232-9824
Email: hrichey@iga.in.gov
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    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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