School board likely to vote on stimulus funds

Monday, August 10, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board will likely vote Monday night to approve a recommendation to spend approximately $171,000 of stimulus funds.

This amount accounts for slightly more than 4 percent of the $4 million in stimulus funding the Columbia School District received for special education purposes. Mary Laffey, assistant superintendent for human resources, said the district is trying to spend the least amount of money possible to reserve funds for bigger projects later in the year.

Laffey said the money will be split among areas the district would like to improve within its special education department before the 2009-10 school year starts.

Approximate distribution of the funds include:

  • $37,500 to pay five psychological interns whose funding was cut by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this year.
  • $20,000 for the partial salary of a school resource officer at Bearfield School.
  • $66,000 for increased assistance for the district's visually impaired students. Laffey said the services needed to assist the visually impaired have increased 33 percent since last year.
  • $47,000 for two permanent special education substitutes. Laffey said these positions would help alleviate the need to fill five to seven special education jobs left open because of absences.

The recommendation is the only action item on the agenda.

Superintendent Chris Belcher will present the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan to the board for discussion. Under the plan, school districts would review data to determine new goals for the next four to six years.

Belcher said it has been six years since the district created its last plan. He said the board will discuss which areas they want to include and then determine two or three major goals to achieve in each area.

Jan Mees, School Board president, said the board will also re-evaluate meeting procedures and committee structures to determine how the board can achieve maximum efficiency throughout the upcoming year.

The special session meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the administrative building, 1818 W. Worley St. A closed executive session will follow.


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