Improvements needed in district’s ESL program

The Chillicothe R-2 district will see a drop in tuition rate for the 2014-15 school year.
At its regular September meeting last night (Tuesday), the Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education approved a tuition rate of $6,331 per student. That is down from this year’s rate of $7,100 per student. This change in tuition affects non-resident students and/or students enrolled in K-8 districts which send students to Chillicothe R-2 for high school classes. Superintendent Roger Barnes said the district serves around 20-25 non-resident students or students from sending schools each year. The number of students affected by tuition decreases next year are unknown at this time and will depend on the enrollment of the sending schools.
Barnes explained that part of the change in tuition stems from the elimination of supplemental educational requirements tied to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
“We now are losing the ARRA (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) mandatory expense requirements,” Barnes said. “Those requirements included supplemental educational services and those types of things for students who did not perform well at certain academic levels. We are no longer required to do that. We no longer receive that federal revenue, either.”
The Board also approved a $56,000 service contract with Control Technology and Solutions Group, of St. Louis, Mo., for the district’s computerized energy and lighting control systems. According to the service agreement, the contract will include “upgrade and configuration of the six existing Webs Rs JACEs to the Webs 600-O JAX JACE and the existing R2 Webs Supervisor PC and software to the current version of WEBPro-AX.” It also includes reinstatement of six individual units at Grand River Technical School to the JACE control system. All modifications shall be completed during the 2013 calendar year.
The cost of the upgrades will be split over a three-year period. Half of the total cost will be paid in July 2014, with the other half split between 2015 and 2016.
In a report to the Board Tuesday night, a review by the Director of Special Services identified improvements needed in the district’s English as a Second Language program. The review included four sections each ranked on a scale of 1 (being “a great degree”) to 5 (being “a low degree”).
When asked if ESOL/LEP students are appropriately identified and evaluated, the R-2 district scored a 2. The district scored a 3 in the all other areas, including placement of ESOL/LEP students in the appropriate instructional environment, appropriate monitoring of ESOL/LEP students to determine readiness for the mainstream classroom environment and appropriate support for the ESOL/LEP student while developing English language skills.
Barnes said the reasoning for the moderately low scores in these areas is due to lack in ESOL/LEP instructors. He said the district is advertising for the position, but teachers with this skill are hard to come by.
During the meeting’s executive session, the Board hired Ben Coult as the new Chillicothe Middle School track coach. Coult will fill the position left open by the resignation of Andrea Dennis. Dennis remains a Middle School teacher at the Chillicothe Alternative Center for Education.