Columbia School Board approves employee raises

Monday, May 12, 2014 | 10:54 p.m. CDT; updated 9:47 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 13, 2014

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement on Monday that would restore back pay for some teachers and raise nonteacher salaries.

The agreement, projected to cost the district $845,267, would restore the teacher pay steps that were frozen during the 2009-10 fiscal year. The board also unanimously approved a $300 increase to all nonteaching employees' base pay. The agreement raises the average pay for district employees by 1.04 percent.

The school board and the teachers union, the Columbia Missouri National Education Association, reached the agreement after a great deal of discussion, District Superintendent Chris Belcher said. "I think this is straightforward."

The board unanimously approved the district's work calendar for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Science standards

The board unanimously approved a set of changes to the district's science program for the coming school year. The new standards will follow similar principles as the Common Core State Standards, District Science Coordinator Mike Szydlowski said.

Szydlowski has said the new standards take a more hands-on approach, while the old standards focused on memorizing specific content and definitions, according to previous Missourian reporting.

"If a student does not love science by fourth grade, they will not love it because after that, it just gets hard," he said Monday.

Girls lacrosse

District athletics director Bruce Whitesides introduced a group supporting the formation of a junior varsity girls lacrosse program.

Belcher said the program would cost about $33,000 to implement in Rock Bridge High School, Hickman High School and Battle High School. But, he said, the viability of the program depended on recruiting.

"You can't force a program to happen," Belcher said.

Students in the three high schools have already shown interest in building a team, said Angel Renick, a coach for the Columbia Women's Lacrosse team and a math teacher at Rock Bridge High School.

The board will vote in June on whether to form the program.

Other Agenda Items

  • The board unanimously approved a 10-cent increase in student lunch prices, a 15-cent increase in adult lunch prices and a 10-cent increase in breakfast prices. 
  • The district's Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley outlined the district's 2014-15 budget. The board will vote on the final draft of the budget at its June meeting.
  • Board members Jonathan Sessions and Paul Cushing were appointed as delegates to the Missouri School Boards' Asssociation.

The next board meeting will be noon May 19 at the Aslin Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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