COLUMBIA — The room at the Columbia Public Schools district office filled Monday evening with parents, teachers and students for the School Board meeting to voice their concerns about the band portion of the 2009 Curriculum Approval.
After nearly 40 minutes of discussion between the board and public, Superintendent Chris Belcher suggested that the topic of marching band participation be delayed until the next School Board meeting. The board unanimously approved the 2009 Curriculum Approval, but excluded the issue of eighth- and ninth-grade participation in marching band and the science curriculum.
The Columbia School Board recognized West Boulevard Elementary School and Columbia students at the meeting Monday. To read more go to Schoolhouse Talk, the Missourian's online conversation about schools in the community.
The consensus during public comment was to allow ninth-graders to participate in high school marching band, though some opposed.
Points in favor of ninth-grade participation suggested that ninth-graders are not middle school students and should have the opportunity to participate in marching band in the same respect that ninth-graders may play on athletic teams at the high school level.
On the contrary, some suggested that junior high students are too focused on the marching rather than learning how to play the instrument.
"I can't speak for all kids, but some kids feel a sense of accomplishment at the high school level," said Steve Mathews, band director for Rock Bridge High School.
Mathews said junior high students would have something to look forward to in high school, should the marching band program be excluded at the junior high level.
Other changes to the curriculum include having a separate health science class and reworking the social studies curriculum for sixth- and seventh-graders so that it’s taught chronologically rather than regionally.
The board took several other actions including a construction bond, participation in the energy conservation project, 2009-10 budget amendments and the sale and purchase of property. The board unanimously approved the following proposals:
- The board previously allowed the distribution of $42 million of the $60 million that was authorized in April 2007 for specialized space, renovations, maintenance and curricular support. The board approved a bond sale of slightly more than $9 million of the remaining amount.
- In October 2007, the board entered a contract with Custom Energy relating to building and energy upgrades at Benton, Blue Ridge, Fairview, Parkade and Russell Boulevard elementary schools. The board approved $2.87 million for energy upgrades.
- Budget amendments approved include transfer of funds for administrative salary and benefits, an amendment to officially accept the Title IID competitive grant authorized by the board last spring and a correction to September’s amendment relating to the Title IID grant for virtual schools. All amendments reflect no impact on the operating budget.
- The board approved permission for the school district to move on the sale of property on Van Horn Tavern Road, which is used for storage. If the property were sold, the district would then plan to purchase a 60,275 square foot property off Paris Road so that it can consolidate storage to one building.