Columbia Public Schools host meeting to discuss legislative priorities

8 months 2 days 5 hours ago Monday, November 13 2017 Nov 13, 2017 Monday, November 13, 2017 8:30:00 PM CST November 13, 2017 in News
By: Hailey Jennings, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - A teaching shortage, emergency medication and taxes are some of the issues the Board Of Education tackled  at a meeting Monday night. Members talked about their legislative priorities for the coming year.

The list includes curriculum and instruction, school community and family relations, finance and funding, school board governance and operations and personnel.

The board supports specialized training for administrators, teachers and staff who work in high poverty areas or with diverse student populations. The board opposes tax incentives that divert a percentage from public schools.

Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark, said one way we can get more teachers is showing Columbia students the teaching career path.

“To recruit from within so having students move up through the teaching path as high schoolers move on to college and major in education and then come back and teach for Columbia Public schools,” she said.

Baumstark said another point of interest for board members is the administration of medication policy.

Life-saving medications allowed will soon include Narcan, an anti-opiod for overdose victims.

“Those policies will allow us to be able to not only administer things like Narcan but as well as other life saving medication should this be necessary,” she said.

The board's legislative priorities must be submitted to House members before a legislative breakfast on December 14. 

The board's complete list of legislative priorities are below:

We support:

  • Local control of all aspects of our schools, including curricular decisions
  • Less emphasis on state-mandated standardized tests
  • Work to address the impending teacher shortage
  • Funding for quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten education
  • Visiting scholars program (HB97)

SCHOOL, COMMUNITY, AND FAMILY RELATIONS

We support:

  • Mental health services-ability to purchase services off of state contracts
  • Increased funding and creation of initiatives to provide training to school districts and administrators that allows schools to utilize the resources available in their community to provide mental health care to students
  • Specialized training for administrators, teachers, and staff who work in high poverty areas or with diverse student populations that focus on the unique situations children face in their communities and culture
  • Replication of programs that have been proven to be effective in meeting the needs of students, and specifically those that live in poverty or those who are considered "at risk"
  • Increased Missouri graduation rates by offering incentives for students to stay in school and/or disincentives for dropping out. Effective counseling for at-risk students, early childhood investment, great career development programs are examples.
  • Maintain these investments and be creative in adding new ideas.
  • Make schools attractive for students who otherwise may not see value in getting education.
  • Eligibility for students who graduate from a Missouri high school for all state financial aid made available by the state of Missouri
  • Continuation of the current independence, structure, and governance of the Missouri State High

FINANCE AND FUNDING

We support:

  • Full funding of the foundation formula; maintain integrity of current foundation formula; nonnegotiable and with no further downward changes to adequacy targets Summer school funding
  • Full funding for transportation; allow local school districts and their communities to cooperate on bus systems
  • Full funding of mandates at federal and state levels such as dyslexia screening, IDEA, and Title programs
  • Full funding at federal and state levels of the ESEA programs that will enable the public schools to meet requirements imposed by the legislation and standards
  • Legislation to enhance state funding, such as cigarette tax, Internet sales tax
  • Simple majority for passage of bond issues
  • Continued review of effectiveness of tax credits
  • Funding for early childhood programs

We oppose:

  • Any legislation that diverts or reduces revenue from the public schools
  • Tax incentives that divert a percentage from public schools (unanimous support of all taxing jurisdiction for any tax abatement project or otherwise provide an opt-out provision)
  • Voucher system
  • Diverting state funds from public schools by any means, including tuition tax credits/vouchers
  • Redirecting resources from public schools to unproven, for-profit charter schools until the charter reforms passed in 2012 are implemented and proven effective

SCHOOL BOARD GOVERNANCE AND OPERATIONS

We support:

  • Local authority for decision making regarding school calendar, open enrollment, class size

PERSONNEL

We support:

  • Legislation that allows districts to establish their own teacher/administrator evaluation model
  • Continuation of equitable funding of professional development to improve personnel effectiveness
  • Legislation that indemnifies school boards from lawsuits

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