The Muscogee County School Board on Monday night unanimously approved all Superintendent David Lewis' recommendations, including:
A new district-wide math program for grades K-5.
An increase in lunch prices but a decrease in admission prices to sporting events.
Permission to sell the former Daniel Middle School property to a developer who plans to convert the Manchester Expressway location into a shopping center.
New math program
The program is called enVisionMATH, a research-based curriculum aligned with the Common Core and published by Pearson Education Inc. The cost to the district will be $960,815, spread over the next two fiscal years. In return, the district will receive $3,899,718 in materials for free.
Lewis' recommendation noted that all K-5 elementary math teachers were surveyed about enVisionMATH this semester and 78 percent of the 687 who responded support implementing the program next school year.
Terry Baker, the district's elementary education director, told the board during last Monday's work session enVisionMATH will help prepare students for the new College and Career Readiness standards the state uses to measure academic performance by focusing "not just on computational skills but problem solving."
Among the benefits Baker mentioned, the program provides:
Students access to online "e-tools" in English and Spanish.
Teachers professional development and differentiated instructional kits to match their instruction with a student's learning style.
Parents online access to digital resources and a printed letter sent home outlining each unit.
The U.S. Department of Education has endorsed enVisionMATH for its increased rigor, Baker said.
This is Lewis' second step to update the district's curriculum. In December, the board adopted Reading Wonders, also aligned with Common Core. Its cost of $1,755,022 also is being spread over two fiscal years and comes with $5,126,230 in free materials.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires school systems to charge meal prices equivalent to the federal reimbursement rate for lunch, according to the superintendent's recommendation. So the district's lunch prices will increase by 5 cents: from $2 to $2.05 for elementary school students and from $2.25 to $2.30 for middle school and high school students.
Meanwhile, families will save money when they attend high school sporting events next school year.
Todd Stanfill, the district's athletics director, said during the work session the proposal is designed to encourage more people to attend games. The thinking is that increased attendance can generate more school spirit and more revenue while making up for the decreased admission price.
For a football game, instead of paying $7 in advance and $10 at the gate, the price will be $5 in advance and $7 at the gate.
As is the policy now, no discount will be offered for advance sales in the other sports, but the district will implement a discount for students. So for a basketball game, instead of paying $7, students will pay $3 and adults will pay $5. Those prices also will apply for baseball, soccer, softball, swimming, track, volleyball and wrestling.
The board approved the Right to Purchase Agreement with Bright-Meyers 2001 LLC, an Atlanta-based developer, for the property at 1042 Manchester Expressway, where the former Daniel Middle School is located. The sale price is $1,225,000.
Board member Mark Cantrell of District 6 asked whether the property was appraised. Lewis said it was indeed and the sale price is in the middle range of the appraisals.
According to the agreement, Bright-Meyers intends to turn the property into a shopping center.
After the meeting, Lewis declined to update his administration's attempt to balance the fiscal year 2015 budget, which has meant laying off teachers.
Friday, the district acknowledged 31 teachers have been laid off as part of the effort to bridge the projected shortfall that was $10 million to $11 million when officials started developing the budget.
No more updates will be given, Lewis said, until he presents the preliminary budget June 2 at a called board meeting. The other budget hearings will be during the June 9 work session and the June 16 regular meeting. The 2015 fiscal year starts July 1.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.