School Board to discuss budget, policy changes

Sunday, June 8, 2008 | 8:24 p.m. CDT; updated 3:30 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — A draft budget for the 2008-2009 school year includes cuts such as the reduction of instructional coaches — for math and literacy­— and the reduction of athletic and activity funds. The draft will be presented Monday to the Columbia School Board, but the board will not take action until June 19.

Before that, the board is expected to take public comment on the proposed budget for Columbia Public Schools. Those meetings will be at 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. June 12 in the Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

A comprehensive list of cuts can be found on the district’s Web site,

Superintendent Phyllis Chase will present a budget that proposes almost $10 million in cuts, including $5 million in cuts made earlier, said Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barnett. The district has been paring its expenditures in an attempt to live within its means, especially since voters in April rejected a property tax levy that would have helped cover more costs. What to cut has become a flash point for school personnel, as well as members of the public. Now, the state-mandated deadline is near.

“It has to be approved before the end of the month, but if not on (June 19), there will be a special session called to have it ready before the end of the month,” Barnett said.

Also up for discussion at tonight’s meeting is the superintendent’s contract. Chase has volunteered to take a pay cut, with the amount to be determined.

Chase is also scheduled to update the board on construction plans for the next public high school.

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