Summer school to be fully funded

Thursday, May 20, 2010

After weeks of speculation area school district administrators learned on Friday that they will receive full funding for 2010 summer school programs.

"Legislators did not make any changes to summer school reimbursements this year," said Cassville Superintendent Jim Orrell. "So, we are planning a summer school program similar to what we have offered in the past."

Cassville's summer school program, which in addition to academic lessons offers students creative activities and field trips, will be held June 2 through June 29.

Although area school districts will receive full funding for summer school, some school boards previously decided to scale back summer programs.

In early May, Southwest Superintendent Bob Walker indicated that the R-V School District planned to modify summer school by only offering core classes to at-risk students.

"It is my understanding that no changes were made regarding being able to count summer school attendance as part of next year's average daily attendance," said Walker. "However because of next year's cuts, undoubtedly we would not be able to break even on the type of summer school program that we have offered in the past.

"Thus, we will have a scaled down version, only for those middle school- and high school-aged students who must have classes in communication arts and math," said Walker.

The Southwest School District will offer summer school classes for at-risk students from June 2 to June 29.

The Exeter R-VI School District had taken the same approach as the Cassville R-IV School District. Administrators waited to hear legislators' final decision regarding summer school funding before deciding the fate of the program.

"We had to wait until we knew what the rules were going to be before we made our final decision," said Dr. Howard Neeley, Exeter interim superintendent. "Due to the decision, we will be proceeding with summer school like we normally do."

Exeter's summer program is also scheduled to be held from June 2 through June 29.

Although Wheaton Superintendent Joe Layton is happy that legislators decided to fund summer school, he wonders what impact the decision will have on funding for the upcoming school year.

"I'm glad summer school was funded this year, because it is a valuable resource for many children," said Layton. "But if I had to make a decision on receiving funds for summer school or the regular school year, I would rather have the money for the regular school year.

"Obviously, the state is experiencing a shortfall in funding," said Layton. "Decisions will need to be made, and we will need to prioritize where our funding is going."

Wheaton's summer school, which will be similar to the 2009 summer program, will be held June 1 through June 25.

Currently, the state faces an estimated $1 billion budget deficit for 2012. Although the decision was made to fully fund summer school, Missouri legislators left decisions regarding school funding for the 2010-11 school year in the hands of Gov. Jay Nixon and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

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