Income replace, new college calendar doubtless stars of a post-mask board assembly | Okay-12 Training
With the mask mandate no longer in effect, a fairly calm meeting appears to be in store for the Columbia School Board on Monday.
The agenda includes a vote on next year’s school calendar and presentations on district revenue and a kindness club at Gentry Middle School.
Heather McArthur, chief financial officer for the district, will update the board on current district revenues, including a $4.4 million decline in property tax revenue for this school year.
On Wednesday, McArthur told the Finance Committee that Missouri is the only state that has not received the third installation of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief — or ESSER III — funds. Columbia Public Schools might miss out on $23.5 million if state lawmakers do not approve the funds by March 24.
The proposed calendar for the 2022-23 school year puts the first day of classes on Aug. 23 for students in first through 12th grade and Aug. 25 for kindergartners and preschoolers.
The district used to release two-year calendars so families could plan further ahead, but that changed with the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope is to return to setting two-year calendars next year.
Carla London, the district’s chief equity officer, will highlight Gentry’s Kindness Club, which focuses on promoting kindness and inclusion in the classroom and partners with the Columbia Special Education Parent Teacher Association and Children’s Grove.
Gentry also has the Be A Friend/Make a Friend Lunch Club, which helps students make new friends and have someone to sit with at lunch, according to the presentation included in board documents.
Need for charter buses
By approval of the consent agenda, the board will ratify roughly $11,526 in bus charter contracts. Throughout the school year, the district has contracted bus services from Doc & Norm Direct for student transportation to a handful of extracurricular activities.
The need for charter buses stems from a pandemic-related shortage of Student Transportation of America school bus drivers, according to board documents. The district partners with STA for its regular bus services but has struggled this year amid a nationwide school bus driver shortage.
Review of special education services
Also on the consent agenda is an agreement with New Solutions K12, which would perform a comprehensive review of the district’s practices in serving students with special needs and others who are struggling, regardless of whether they have an Individualized Education Plan.
The review would include interviews, data gathering and classroom observation. After the review of current practices, New Solutions K12 would work with the district to establish areas of improvement and planning processes to implement best practices.
The board will recognize:
- Rock Bridge High School students Andrew Hauser and Ella Swindle for receiving the 2021-22 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year award.
- John Warner Middle School students Jenna Lin and Hickman High School students Wilma Boyce, Dejanai Johnson, Kathryn Myers and Ariel Schachtman for winning the 2022 Missouri Writing Region of the Scholastic Writing Awards Contest Gold Key award. Boyce also earned a Silver Key award, and Hickman student Wylie Putman earned an honorable mention.
The district’s approach to the pandemic might not be the point of conversation it previously has been. This is the second month of this school year that the district’s COVID-19 plan has not been listed on the agenda.
On Thursday, the district announced in a letter to families that masks would not be required in school buildings starting Friday. In the letter, Superintendent Brian Yearwood said the mandate was ending because of a decline in local COVID-19 cases, recent wastewater data, guidance from health and medical experts, and improved staffing and student attendance.
The announcement was made hours before a hearing for a temporary restraining order sought against the district over its mandate. The judge ruled the order was moot.
The district’s temporary mandate was already set to expire at the end of the day Friday.
How to watch the meeting
The meeting will begin at 6:30 pm in the Aslin Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St. It will be livestreamed on CPS-TV, which can be viewed on the district’s website, CenturyLink, Mediacom, Charter Spectrum, Roku, Apple TV and FireTV.