At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Augusta board members heard about a little-known, but important program in the district.
Terri Stevens and Jamie Buckley addressed the board concerning the USD 402 English Language Learners (ELL) program, which was started in 2008 with 14 students, kindergarten through fifth grade. Middle school students were added in 2009, and high school students, along with preschool students were added to the program in 2010.
The program is currently serving 20 students, but that number can change at any time. Future numbers will undoubtedly increase.
As Stevens and Buckley explained, the burgeoning numbers of English-language learners pose unique challenges for educators striving to ensure that such students get access to the core curriculum in school and acquire academic knowledge, as well as English-language skills.
Currently, Stevens is the only full-time employee of the program and with very little funding available, that means she spends a great deal of her time attempting to help students in each district building.
Board members requested that future discussion continue on the program and ways to find more funding be revisited.
Superintendent John Black reported to the board that the Augusta School District recently refinanced an outstanding general obligation bond - Series 2013 - by selling replacement bonds at a lower interest rates. As a result of current market interest rates, the final savings to the District as a result of the 2013 refinancing is $661,612. In addition, the interest rate on the Series 2013 refunding bond issue is 2.76%. The total savings secured by the District to date as a result of the Series 2012 and Series 2013 refinancings is $1,760,785.
Board members approved 7-0 the 2013 Resolution with the City of Augusta to Extend the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.
Also approved 7-0 was the Robinson Elementary to Augusta Middle School fiber optics agreement. It will also need approval by the City of Augusta.
The fiber installation from Lincoln School to Garfield School was recently completed.
The board approved 7-0, a submitted bid from Alliance Steel, Inc. in the amount of $35,146. for the construction of a 5600 ft. storage building, to be located near the high school. The building will have exhaust fans and one end will be expandable for future use.
In other district construction matters, Superintendent Black shared .that the crosswalk correction on State St. at the Middle School has become a “frustrating project.” The project involves additional concrete work up to the front doors of the school building. The steps to the street also pose a problem after the crosswalk is moved. Work continues on finding a solution for the crosswalk and the steps.
Work is also progressing on the lettering and sign for the new Middle School gymnasium.
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Landscape and irrigation at the new Garfield Elementary are waiting on the weather conditions and decisions from the City regarding watering.
The tile flooring will be replaced in May and June and the new parking area is almost complete.
New replacement classroom doors are currently being installed. The tile flooring will be replaced in May and June and the durability of the lunchroom tile is being examined. The sound system in the stage and gym area has been corrected with the replacement of a processor.