School Board to discuss future financial plans Monday

Monday, December 14, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA – The future financial climate of Columbia Public Schools as well as a new five-year strategic improvement plan will be discussed at the Columbia School Board on Monday evening.

The auditor's report on the district for 2008-2009 also will be presented.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, will be at the meeting to talk about state funding and what it will mean for the district in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Because of decreasing state funding and an increase in unemployment, the district will be making tough decisions over the next few years to maintain a balanced budget, said Nick Boren, deputy superintendent for administration.

Linda Quinley, chief financial officer, will present a revised five-year budget forecast, detailing three possible budget projections. The presentation will include budget plans based on:

  • flat state funding;
  • loss of 7.5 percent in state funding; and
  • loss of 15 percent in state funding.

Also on the agenda will be a report on student progress toward educational goals set by the School Board five years ago. Columbia Public Schools will most likely be accredited with distinction once again because the district met all of the Missouri School Improvement Program requirements except for one, Chief Academic Officer Sally Beth Lyon said. 

A public forum on Dec. 3 allowed community members to give input for the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan being developed. The School Board will discuss the five-year strategic plan Monday and will likely vote on it in January, Lyon said.

Up for a vote Monday is a resolution to participate in the Race to the Top program under the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Funding is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to states that are in partnership with local education agencies to develop new ideas in four priority areas:

  • standards and assessments;
  • data to support instruction;
  • teacher and leader quality; and
  • turning schools around.

By participating in the program, Columbia Public Schools has the opportunity to be eligible for that funding.

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

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