Muscogee County School Board Hears Recommendations

Lewis recommends decreasing admission to athletic events, raising lunch by 5 cents

In a newsy work session Monday evening, the Muscogee County School Board heard superintendent David Lewis’ recommendations to:

• Adopt a new district-wide math program for grades K-5.

• Increase lunch prices but decrease admission prices to athletic events.

• Sell the former Daniel Middle School property to a developer who plans to convert the Manchester Expressway location into a shopping center.

The board will vote on these recommendations during its official meeting next Monday at 6 p.m. in the Muscogee County Public Education Center.

New math program

The recommended program is called enVisionMATH, a research-based curriculum aligned with the Common Core and published by Pearson Education Inc. The cost to the district would be $960,815, spread over the next two fiscal years. In return, the district would receive $3,899,718 in materials for free.

Lewis’ recommendation notes 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, said 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.

Board member Naomi Buckner of District 4 said she supports the proposed curriculum change, but she voiced concern about the history of adopting programs that become obsolete when the state changes the standards. She wondered aloud whether this was a good time to invest in a new program aligned with the Common Core because Georgia legislators are calling for the state to leave the national standards.

“There is no better time,” Lewis said, sparking applause in the crowd. “I know there’s a whole lot of issues around Common Core, but I think it’s time to start focusing on where we want our students to be nationally and internationally.”

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.

Price changes

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 would 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.

Perhaps families could find ways to pay for the lunch increase by saving money when they attend high school sporting events.

Todd Stanfill, the district’s athletics director, said 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 would be $5 in advance and $7 at the gate.

As is the policy now, no discount would be offered for advance sales in the other sports, but the district would implement a discount for students. So for a basketball game, instead of paying $7, students would pay $3 and adults would pay $5. Those prices also would apply for baseball, soccer, softball, swimming, track, volleyball and wrestling.

Property sale

Lewis is recommending the board approve 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 would be $1,225,000.

According to the agreement, Bright-Meyers intends to turn the property into a shopping center.

After the meeting, Lewis declined to comment on the details of the developer’s plan. The proceeds from the sale, he said, would be used for the district’s capital projects.

Mark Rice
Ledger-Enquirer

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