Lucas takes seat on board, school year begins

By MARK ROGERS,

Eric Lucas was sworn in as a member of the Columbia School District Board of Trustees Aug. 9, and the board wasted no time getting down to business with the beginning of the school year.

Superintendent Jason Harris began the meeting by honoring members of the district’s technology department for implementing the new one-to-one program, which provides computers to each student.

“The thing that says the most is what you haven’t heard, and that is a lot of complaints,” he said. “I personally can tell you that not one person has come up and complained about any part of the process that we’ve had. I can tell you I have a long-standing history of dealing with one-to-one and that was not the case. The students are really enjoying it. There were a lot of thankless and tireless hours that went into making the initiative go so smoothly.”

Harris also honored food service workers in the summer feeding program.

“We fed a lot of students this summer,” he said. “We pulled it off in a short period of time and it went off flawlessly. Words cannot express what that does for the members of our community.”

The program averaged 46 students per day for breakfast and 106 for lunch. In June, 464 breakfasts were served and 1,233 lunches.

The board also heard a report from Columbia High School Principal Braxton Stowe, who discussed AP and dual enrollment classes. This fall, 36 students are taking 49 classes, and in the spring 63 are projected to take advantage of the program that allows them to earn college credits while in high school.

“This year, we hope to have over 100 students involved by the end of the year,” Stowe said. “We had 18 in 2016 and 85 in 2017. The majority of the students are 12th-graders, and they are taking classes such as English comp I, English comp II, college algebra, psychology, world civics and music appreciation. I’m really encouraged by the kids. They automatically receive college credit.”

The program this year is expected to cost the district around $10,900, according to Stowe.

In other action, the board approved a variety of consent agenda items including accepting several donations and fundraisers from various school groups.

It also approved an increase in the cost of adult meals at the schools from $3.25 to $3.75 to match costs and reimbursements.

The board also voted to change the time of its meetings from 5:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. to allow for recognitions during the meetings.

The board also approved a variety of supplements for teachers including $1,000 to each of the department heads at Columbia High School: Jennifer Terrell in science, Rhonda Gaughf in math, Michael Novinski in social studies and Amy Terrell in English. The board also approved Emily Rayborn as yearbook staff sponsor and transferred Edward Handshaw to the position of transition coordinator. Markell Pack was also approved as an assistant high school football coach and Trent Pittman as assistant boys and girls soccer coach. Scott Fitzgerald was also approved to be a Second Chance Center bus driver at a daily rate of $25.

 

Pictured Above: Columbia School Board Member Eric Lucas takes the oath of office Aug. 9 from Attorney Drew Foxworth. | Photo by Mark Rogers