Columbia talks report card, school years

The district’s performance on this year’s Illinois Report Card was the biggest topic of conversation at the most recent Columbia School Board meeting.

Columbia Assistant Superintendent of Schools Alyssa Smith gave a rundown of the district’s generally positive results at the Oct. 20 meeting.

Smith specifically noted Columbia’s Illinois Assessment of Readiness test scores in English language arts and mathematics were higher than the state’s average.

She similarly described how Columbia’s SAT scores – specifically math – saw a slight decrease this year compared to last, though the district is still considerably better off than the state average.

“SAT scores, they did dip a little bit this year, which obviously was concerning when you first take a look at that, but as I started digging in, the state average took a massive dip this year,” Smith said. “And so while our scores dipped, when you start looking at the percentage of how much we lost versus how much the state average dip was, we actually are still much further ahead of the state.”

Smith also noted chronic absenteeism as an area to address for several schools in the district, as while the percentage of chronically absent students isn’t overly high, it is still higher than administration would like. For more details on the Illinois Report Card, check out this week’s front page.

Also at the meeting, the board selected Columbia School Board Secretary Tammy Hines to represent the board at the Illinois Association of School Boards Delegate Assembly meeting on Nov. 19.

Hines will vote on several resolutions at the meeting on the board’s behalf.

The board expressed their agreement with the IASB Resolution Committee’s recommendations save for one resolution concerning excessive school district fund balances.

The committee’s recommendation is to adopt the resolution which would allow Illinois school boards to keep three times annual expenditures as cash on-hand instead of the current 2.5.

Columbia School Board President Greg Meyer voiced his opposition to the proposal, and it was generally expressed that such a change would be unnecessary as the district simply doesn’t keep nearly that amount of cash on-hand.

It was also mentioned at the meeting that Columbia High School had a change in available college credit courses, losing physics from Saint Louis University and architectural CAD and mechanical CAD from Southwestern Illinois College.

However, the school also gained basic horticulture, horticulture production and management, consumer economics, ag business management and PE weights from SWIC.

Columbia School Board member Andrea Khoury also expressed her concern about a recent injury that occurred during a junior varsity football game.

She asked why ambulances were present at upperclassmen sporting events but not lowerclassmen events.

Columbia Superintendent of Schools Chris Grode said that would be looked into.

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Andrew Unverferth

HTC web