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Local High Schools Find Varied Uses for New Money Under Overhauled State Formula

Article by: Kelsey Schulz, The Telegraph, schulz@thetelegraph.com

East Alton-Wood River Superintendent John Pearson said while nothing is finalized, they have a few ideas in mind to what the additional $380,658.18 will go toward.

“Part of what we are going to do and have already decided to do is offer the Collinsville area offer vocational courses to seniors. It is something that we would have to have transportation to and from every day, but we want to offer our students more career tech sort of programs,” said Pearson.

“That area teaches things like auto shop and electronic classes and building trades and that’s something that we don’t have,” he said.

The district has already had 12 students sign up, according to Pearson. “So, we will pay to send a bus down there every day, and that’s just one of the things we are going to do for academic improvement.”

Pearson also noted they plan to use the money to help offset the district’s deficits. “We haven’t cut any major core programs, because we wanted to keep those and we kept class sizes relatively small,” he said. “We have been spending down our fund balances over the last few years and are using working cash funds and this money will help offset some of those losses.”

They are also looking into employing an instructional coach in the future as well as looking into adding sections in certain classes. “That will help provide more opportunities with our students,” said Pearson.

One of the classes they are looking into adding to is a transitional math class with Lewis and Clark Community College. “We are looking at assuring with Lewis and Clark to create a transitional math class, which may be a math course based on statistics,” said Pearson. “Basically, we would share that with Lewis and Clark and then students who pass that class here will be able to skip over what you would call remedial math classes at the college if they do enroll there.”

Pearson said the intention behind the transitional course would be so students can save both time and money when getting graduation credit. “It isn’t finalized but we are interested in doing that.”

“We have been doing a lot of these things and spending money and spending deficits to keep the programs where they are now,” said Pearson. “And some of this new money will help in that regard.”

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