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Today's question: Elimination of math and literacy coaches at Columbia Public Schools

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | 11:26 a.m. CDT; updated 12:23 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 12, 2009

On Monday night, the Columbia School Board approved budget reductions equaling $4.4 million in a 5-to-1 vote.

Last month, the community met at a school board meeting to discuss the cuts and parents expressed concern about potential personnel cuts that would be a byproduct of the budget cuts.

“Your resources will tell you it’s more expensive to rehire and hire than it is to maintain,” said Robin Hubbard, a parent of a Columbia student.

But despite that concern, the cuts will still eliminate all math and literacy coaches. Getting rid of those positions will save the district $1,603,250.

The one board member to vote against the budget cuts, Rosie Tippin, said she did so because of the impending personnel cuts.

“We’re still having trouble closing the (academic) achievement gap,” she said. “This is one of the programs that helps with that.”

She added that since math and literacy positions are funded with federal money, that's one reason the coaches should remain in their positions.

Board member Ines Segert pointed out that math test scores have fallen in the past year, which proves that math coaches have been ineffective.

Other board members said they thought eliminating the positions was unfortunate, but an effective and relatively harmless way to balance the budget. And the school board’s vice president, Steve Calloway, said eliminating the positions does not mean the positions won’t resurface in the future.

“Discontinuing math and literacy coaches, that doesn't mean we're abandoning the concept," he said. "We just can't do it this year."

Do you think eliminating the math and literacy coach positions was an effective way for the school board to cut costs?


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