Columbia School Board updates budget, recognizes achievements

Tuesday , February 13, 2018 - 3:56 PM

Mimi Wright

Transportation funding was one concern of the Columbia School Board’s Monday meeting.

The board gave an update on its 2017-18 budget using the best available data on local property valuations and state funding. Heather McArthur, administrative project manager for Columbia Public Schools, gave a presentation outlining the current budget.

Information showed that 64 percent of the funds for the operating revenue come from local revenue, such as a combination of property tax, Proposition C tax and delinquent tax.

The state provides just less than a third of operating revenue including funds from the state foundation formula, classroom trust fund, high needs fund and the transportation fund.

McArthur brought up concerns about funding transportation because the projected state transportation funds for the 2017-18 school year are $2,076,458, while projected expenditures are $12,345,838.

“It’s such an oxymoron when they make us count — we have to have 90 percent attendance and then they don’t help us get our kids to school,” Jan Mees, vice president of the board, said.

CPS depends on the state foundation formula for 22 percent of its operating budget. This state foundation formula includes components such as student membership counts, average daily attendance percentage, summer school average daily attendance and other factors.

In Gov. Greitens’ fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would be $50 million short of fully funding the foundation formula.

In addition to the budget, the board recognized Hannah Nandor, a chemistry teacher at Battle High School who received a National Board Certification. This is the most respected professional certification available to K-12 teachers, according to the organization.

Kathy Steinhoff, president of the Columbia Missouri National Education Association, highlighted the importance of board certification among CPS teachers, noting how it benefits student achievement. Only nine CPS teachers have active certification status.

The board also commended students involved in theatre groups at Battle, Hickman and Rock Bridge High Schools for Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat, a national food drive. Columbia students collected more than 21,000 pounds of food this year, more than half of the 40,000 pounds collected in Missouri. CPS students won the National Cornucopia Award for collecting the most food out of any district in the country. Missouri also won the State Cornucopia Award as the state that collected the most food.

Superintendent Peter Stiepleman also recognized school board members for their devotion to student success.

“Your focus and your commitment is and always has been on the children of our community,” Stiepleman said.

The board also unanimously approved several construction contracts and engagements including asbestos abatement in Fairview Elementary and Grant Elementary.

Board member Paul Cushing did not attend Monday’s meeting. Board President Darin Preis, recovering from surgery, participated via phone.

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