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The Starkville School District Board of Trustees will discuss amendments to several school board policies at its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday in the Greensboro Center.
The first amendment on the boardâ€™s agenda is a revision to the districtâ€™s mission statement, vision and goals, which the board discussed at a special meeting Sept. 18. At that time, SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway asked the board to update its goal of becoming a high-performing district by 2012, with 65 percent of all students scoring proficient or above on state tests. This goal will change to becoming a high-performing district by 2017, with 85 percent of students scoring proficient or above, and Holloway said he expects more changes in the future.
â€śThese goals need to greatly change; these are just little tweaks to make it fit what the district has right now,â€ť Holloway said. â€śAs we move forward this year, I expect weâ€™re going to have a lot of discussion of what the school districtâ€™s goals for the future are going to be.â€ť
Holloway said the district will also consider amending its requirements for long-term substitute teachers. Previously, he said, such substitute teachers only had to be certified teachers and did not need expertise in the subjects they taught.
â€śYou might have a substitute teacher in an algebra class that didnâ€™t have the math background to teach algebra,â€ť Holloway said. â€śWeâ€™re changing that. When we have long-term substitutes, they (will be) required to be highly qualified when theyâ€™re working in state-tested areas. Their rates would be $160 per day after the first 15 days.â€ť
One of the amendments up for discussion is a matter of compliance with a change at the state level, Holloway said. This amendment will prevent faculty from donating their earned leave or sick leave hours to faculty in other school districts, only allowing them to make those donations to faculty in their same school district.
â€śLetâ€™s say someone had a catastrophic illness and was going to be out for a year,â€ť Holloway said. â€śThis policy allows friend teachers to (donate leave hours to that person.) Sometimes, if a husband and wife who are teachers have a baby, one parent might donate time to another to take care of the baby.â€ť
Another change is a formality for the sake of consistency, Holloway said. Currently, he said, students who fail a course with a score of at least 65 have their score raised to a passing 70 if they pass the stateâ€™s test in the same subject area.
â€śLast year, we changed our grading scale to a 10-point scale, so now a 60 passes a course,â€ť Holloway said. â€ś(So, the policy will now say) students passing a state test but failing a course with at least a 55 will be assigned a 60 to pass the class.â€ť
The agenda also contains multiple payments exceeding $500 each from activity accounts for the boardâ€™s approval, totaling more than $26,000. These range from $7,289.11 for Smart Music Educator and Smart Music Student subscriptions for Armstrong Middle Schoolâ€™s band to $511.50 for student Future Farmers of America sweatshirts. Board President Keith Coble said it is common for several student activity expenses to appear at once during the fall months.
â€śThere are a lot of student organizations and a lot of classes that are engaged,â€ť Coble said. â€śWhen you bring them all to the board at one time, it does seem like a large number, but weâ€™ve just got a lot of activities going on in the district. It will stay fairly active through the end of the school year.â€ť