Summer school would be canceled at Houston following action by the Houston board of education on Monday.

A worsening state financial picture prompted the Houston board of education Monday to cancel summer school, which combines classroom fun with an extra push for students who need academic help.

Dr. Dan Vandiver said following the meeting that the state’s bleak finances will likely mean that the state will offer no funding to aid districts across the state to hold summer school. About 250 Houston students participated last year. The school district had budgeted to spend about $135,000 this summer.

School districts received good news Tuesday when Gov. Jay Nixon signed an appropriations bill that will distribute aid proportionally as the state’s budget year ends, meaning some districts in the state won’t receive cuts as deep as the legislature had earlier proposed.

But other problems loom:

–A cut through the formula that distributes funds to school districts, as well as withholdings from other areas, such as transportation and money that districts receive from other funds.

–Potential elimination of money to fund the state’s career ladder program that gives additional financial incentives to teachers who further their education and take on more responsibilities. The Houston School District funds about 47 percent of the program. At worst, teachers will receive that portion, Vandiver said. An instructor in level 3 of the program would receive $2,350 – rather than $5,000 if the state makes the cuts.

“It is a difficult time and the scary part of it is DESE (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) and Jeff City keep telling us that the 2011-2012 fiscal year is going to be considerably worse,” Vandiver said.

In other matters, members:

-Reorganized following last week’s election. Incumbents Sharon Horbyk and Doug Castleman were re-elected. Board officers for the upcoming year are: Dr. Tom Dunn, president; Horbyk, vice president; and Kathy Hutcheson, secretary-treasurer. Janice Maxwell was reappointed as executive board secretary.

-Heard a presentation from the staff’s salary and welfare committee related to compensation for the next budget year that begins July 1.

-Voted to accept health insurance rates offered to a consortium that includes the Houston School District. Rates will raise 2.9 percent.

-Hired Dustin Kirkman as the new head boys’ basketball coach. He will replace Brent Hall, who resigned to focus on his head baseball coach responsibilities.

-Employed Maggie Jadwin and Carla Walker as co-cheerleading sponsors. All of the non-certified staff will return next year, the board decided.

-Enjoyed a meal at the vocational building and learned more about programs there, as well as recent student recognition.

-Tabled adding two certified positions at the Exceptional Child Cooperative until more definite financial information is available from the state.



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