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 Schools Assistant Superintendent Alyssa Smith provided an overview of the district’s generally positive results at the Oct. 20 meeting.
Smith specifically noted that Columbia’s Illinois Readiness test scores in English language arts and math were higher than the state average.
She similarly described how Columbia’s SAT scores — especially math — saw a slight dip this year compared to last, though the district is still well above the state average.
“The SAT scores, they went down a little bit this year, which was definitely a concern when you first look at them, but as I started to dig in, the state average dropped massively this year,” Smith said. “And so while our scores went down, when you start looking at the percentage of how much we lost versus what the state average was, we’re actually still way ahead of the state.”
Smith also pointed to chronic truancy as an area to address for some schools in the district, as while the percentage of students who are chronically absent is not very high, it is still higher than the administration would like. For more details on the Illinois Report Card, see 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 School Boards Association Assembly of Delegates meeting on November 19.
Hines will vote on several resolutions at the meeting on behalf of the board.
The board expressed its agreement with the recommendations of the IASB Resolution Committee, except for a resolution regarding school district fund surpluses.
The committee’s recommendation is to pass the resolution which would allow Illinois school boards to keep three times their annual cash expenses instead of the current 2.5.
Columbia School Board President Greg Meyer voiced his opposition to the proposal and generally said such a change would be unnecessary since the district simply doesn’t have that much cash on hand.
The meeting also mentioned 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 won basic horticulture, horticulture production and management, consumer economics, 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 varsity football game.
She asked why ambulances were present at upper-class sporting events but not at lower-class events.
Columbia Schools Superintendent Chris Grode said it would be reviewed.