Sunday, December 14, 2014


A school district budget evaluation prepared by Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider in advance of Monday's school board meeting includes a proposed technology budget that is the highest since 2009.

Schneider's report states:

During the last two years the main goal of the IT department was to increase internet bandwidth and increase the number of student computing devices to prepare for state mandated PARCC assessments. Additionally, security systems were expanded and connected with the district’s telecommunications systems and data networks. Finally, the funding structure for e-rate is changing to support new federal education goals. The combination of increased infrastructure demands, increase of mobile devices (3,744 Chromebooks across the district in the past year alone), new national technology education goals, and the need to continually replace aging equipment requires continual infrastructure improvements and the need to increase technical support. The proposed technology budget is structured to support these needs while maintaining a 5 year replacement schedule of electronic equipment and ensuring technical support keeps pace with an increasing demand of technology services and equipment. 

Schneider also reiterated her earlier report that growing student enrollment was a budget issue going forward, while also updating potential health care insurance alternatives for staff.

In addition, she revealed that plans to implement a gifted and talented program, which was approved in November by the school board, would cost more than $101,000:


The Board recently approved a Gifted and Talented Strategy proposal at the November 2014 Board meeting. The plan standardizes many of the existing provisions for gifted students, including differentiated instruction, grade acceleration in somesubjects, and ability grouping within classrooms. Other current provisions include AP offerings in the high school, There are several new components, one of which is cluster rotations, where several teachers in a grade work with small groups of children who excel at a specific subject. 
For truly exceptional students, the district might utilize a Gifted Action Plan (GAP) that would include specific, differentiated curriculum. In addition, the district plans to expand mentoring opportunities between Columbia High School students and younger students.

Since there is no pull-out component, most of the strategy focuses differentiated instruction and therefore professional development is critical so that teachers can adequately differentiate instruction for students who require more challenge. Budgetary implications of the program are mostly associated with the professional development.

   Consultant fee – Staff training on GT screening checklist and GAP plan creation as needed, $1,000 daily @ approximately 7 visits, $7,000

   Professional development on differentiated instruction –  8 sessions, 8,000 o K-2- Marshall, Clinton/So. Mtn, SB/Tuscan o 3-5 Jefferson, Clinton/So. Mtn, SB/Tuscan o 6-8 MMS, SOMS

    Materials –fee – $1,000.00

    Gifted and Talented Specialist (staff position – 1 FTE) - $85,000

    Total – approximately $101,000

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