Those adjustments came from funds budgeted for a new science and health curriculum. Course updates are something Superintendent Ralph Moore said the district does regularly on a rotating basis.
“We budgeted for this five years ago to have the money to take care of it,” he said, referring to the replacement all of the science and health class teaching resources.
Curriculum director Coral Smith worked with the teachers to be able to meet the schools’ needs, but also save a few dollars in the process, Moore said. She then asked the school board for permission to allocate those funds for the summer programs.
Smith said the monetary savings won’t diminish the quality of teaching.
“When reviewing the science and health curriculum this year, we involved all teachers across all grade levels (who) teach science,” she said.
“We were able to kind of think outside the box. The teachers have been involved every step of the way. We studied 10 different curriculums and narrowed it down to two. Then the teachers met to give their final decisions. They all decided on the same one (Houghton Mifflin). The only class that can't use (this curriculum) is anatomy because they don't offer texts in that class. That class will go with Pearson.”
Some elementary classes also will supplement the course with monthly science magazines. The new materials will replace ones that are dated as far back as 2004.
“That’s outdated; that's a long time,” board member Dan Bemis said.
“The standards have changed considerably in that period of time,” Moore added.
Smith said all of the teachers had time to investigate each of the curriculum material presented and to hear a couple presentations on the courses before deciding what was the best fit for the students. The decision still came considerably under the allotted budget.
“You budgeted $101,000 for the curriculum replacement and after looking at it you can see we're under budget,” Smith said.
She added she and the teachers worked hard to “look ahead and plan” so they could find the money to cover the summer reading and math programs.
“$101,000 was originally budgeted in the five-year forecast. We budgeted it last year for this purchase for this year. We looked at what the teachers need and we were able to provide that and we added a high school class. We were able to meet all of those needs and say under budget.”
The summer programs, which are for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, are expected to range in cost from $7,500 to $9,500.
“It all depends on the enrollment — the more students we have, the more teaching staff needed,” said Smith, who would love for all of the students to attend. “I would say we would have the majority of it covered.”
She said the district wants to keep class sizes at about a 1:10 ratio.
If necessary, treasurer Stephanie Hanna said the board also would also be able to contribute a few unspent grant dollars originally set aside for professional development.
“Coral and the teachers did a lot of work and made adjustments ... to be able to save enough money to implement these programs,” Moore said.
The board agreed with president Nancy Brown that being able to fund the programs was “great news.”
“This is wonderful,” Bemis said. “Thank you for your work. We don't want to sacrifice the quality of the education we offer ever, but it sounds like you've actually enhanced it in addition to supporting the summer programs.”
The summer program will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays the weeks of June 10, 17, 24 and July 8 and 15. Smith said more information will be sent home to parents soon.