Columbia School Board to vote on career center construction bid

Monday, September 14, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board is expected to vote on a construction bid for a Columbia Area Career Center addition as well as amendments to the 2009-10 budget in its meeting Monday night.

Phase one of the Career Center addition would include a number of classrooms to be used for culinary arts, marketing, health and other subjects. Expansion would also include a computer lab, storage units, a records room and offices, according to information prepared for board members. The city of Columbia is also requesting that an easement be added for storm drainage purposes.

The board is being asked to approve a bid from River City Construction for just under $2.16 million. Funding — a total of $5.3 million — is being provided in a 50-50 state match to Columbia Public Schools, board documents state. The district's match is a reimbursement for money spent on the initial Career Center addition as well as equipment upgrades made before 2008-09.

The board is also expected to vote on three budget amendments, including using additional revenue from a recently approved tax rate increase to boost teacher salaries and educational credit benefits. The others relate to a technology grant submitted this summer and federal stimulus money.

The board will also hear a report from Sally Beth Lyon, chief academic officer, about changing the summer school program from one that is privately run to one that is run by the district. On Wednesday, the Board of Education Finance Committee recommended the move.

The district has used private companies to run its summer school program for six years. State funding stipulations made this a more financially beneficial option, Lyon said.

However, state funding used to be linked to attendance. Outside vendors were an option because they could provide incentive for parents and students, increasing attendance. Now that funding has changed, it is presumed that the district can save money by organizing the program in-house.

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Chris Belcher will address two school-year programs, Jumpstart and A Way With Words and Numbers. Both programs provide tutoring for students from preschool through eighth grade.

Board President Jan Mees is expected to speak about the legislative breakfast and the Missouri School Boards' Association fall meeting. Other reports will come from the Columbia Missouri National Education Association and Columbia Public Schools Employee Organization.

Sarah Sadewhite and Ann Landes will be recognized for state awards from the Missouri School Counselors Association.

The board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the district's Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

Missourian reporter Sarah Horn contributed to this report.

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