Students Shuttle Between Schools for Class

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COLUMBIA - Oakland Middle School started shuttling students to Lange Middle School for a geometry class Monday. Oakland's Principal Helen Porter said Oakland doesn't have a teacher for the advanced class, so its more cost efficient to send the kids to another school rather than hiring another teacher. 

"First the students were offered an online class, but the parents did not like that so we tried a videoconferencing system with Lange Middle School," Porter said. "The class would be supervised by an Oakland teacher, not necessarily a math teacher, but parents still did not think that was the best system for their kids and I want to support them in their mathematics education."

The five students are now able to sit in on the geometry class at Lange Middle School. Porter said they are gone the first hour of school, which means they miss the advisory class. The advisory class is mandatory for every middle school student. In the first period advisory class, students learn study skills and anti- bullying messages. 

The five students will be shuttled for the remainder of the school year. As for 2014-2015 school year, Porter said, "We will cross that bridge when we come to it next year."

Columbia Public Schools Transportation Coordinator, David Wilson said the shuttle will cost $57.95 per day round trip to take five students from Oakland Middle School to Lange Middle School, which totals approximately $8,000 for the rest of the year. 

Superintendent Chris Belcher said it is a simple solution. "We already have a good teacher that knows the curriculum point eight miles down the road."

He added, "The technology was not reliable enough, but that's not to say that technology can be used to help the classrooms." 

Belcher said instead of trying to find someone this late in the school year and teach him or her the curriculum it was best to send them to Lange.