Columbia School Board approves exclusive representation for teachers

Thursday, October 18, 2012 | 2:22 p.m. CDT; updated 2:49 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 18, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board unanimously approved the results of an Oct. 11 teachers' election naming the Columbia Missouri National Education Association as their exclusive representative in collective bargaining.

According to a previous Missourian report, almost 56 percent of those who cast ballots voted for exclusive representation over an informal system known as "meet and confer" that has been in place to negotiate salaries and benefits.

Other news from the board meeting Thursday morning:

Update on ALICE

John Warner, a Columbia police officer, updated board members on the lockdown system that middle and high schools implemented more than a year ago.

The lockdown system is specific to the grade level, Deputy Superintendent Nick Boren said. It’s not in elementary schools yet, but district administrators are talking to elementary school teachers about the best way to implement it.

The system is called ALICE, which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. This lockdown process changes the way faculty and students handle a situation in which a shooter has entered the building.

For more information on ALICE in Columbia Public Schools, click here to see a video created by students from the Lange Middle School Cinema Group.

Previously, students had been taught to find a hiding place and stay in one location if a shooter entered a school. With ALICE, students are learning to keep moving and throw things at the shooter.

Boren said the change in thinking about how faculty and students handle lockdown situations is a national shift.

Update on EEZ

Board member James Whitt, who sits on the city’s Enhanced Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, gave an update on the state of EEZ in Columbia.

Whitt said he would have the names of schools in each of two zones for a December meeting when the board will discuss EEZ.

At an Oct. 8 meeting between neighborhood residents and city representatives, the board presented two potential boundaries for the EEZs in Columbia: a north zone that would include Business Loop 70 and surrounding area, and a south zone that would include the LeMone Industrial Park and surrounding area.

The EEZ board decided Wednesday to seek more community feedback and to look at poverty data in the areas.

World Cafe review

On Oct. 10, the district hosted a World Cafe on transportation and school start-times. The forum was an opportunity for district employees, parents and residents to express their opinions on a possible switch from a two-tier bus and bell system to a three-tier bus and bell system.

Superintendent Chris Belcher told the board that based on going from table to table at the event, the impression he got from attendees was that the three-tier system, in which there would be three school start times, makes sense.

The board will decide on school transportation either this January or February.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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