Columbia School Board to discuss finances at Monday meeting

Sunday, December 7, 2008 | 4:47 p.m. CST; updated 8:46 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 7, 2008

COLUMBIA — Money will be a hot topic at the Columbia School Board meeting on Monday, which will include a financial update from the superintendent, the auditor's report of the 2007-08 fiscal year and suggested parameters for preparing the 2009-10 budget.

Columbia Public Schools currently has a projected deficit of $3.2 million, but the new parameters will not necessarily take care of the deficit by themselves, business director Linda Quinley said.

"The intent of the parameters is to give the board things to think about and to give us guidelines," Quinley said.

One of those guidelines considers the possibility of eliminating job positions. Quinley said the district hopes there will be enough employees leaving through retirement and resignation that cutting jobs won't be an issue. Personnel reductions would mean fewer teachers, which would create higher student-teacher ratios, a problem the district has made a priority.

The timeline for the budget will either be discussed at Monday's board meeting or at the next board meeting in January, Quinley said.

Other items on the agenda include approving the name for the new elementary, a teacher association policy update and consideration of the district's summer school contract with the Newton Learning division. The independent summer school program has proposed a three-year contract with the district, which will save an estimated $542,754 after three years, according to the district.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday at 1818 W. Worley St.

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