Crocker struggles to find ways to fund summer school, driver’s education
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Crocker summer school director Alice Carlton answers questions from school board member Tracey Smith.
CROCKER, Mo. (April 30, 2010) — The first major consequence of budget problems seen by average students and parents in the Crocker R-II School District may be loss of summer school.
“The quick version on summer school is we are not sure if we are going to be able to have it yet. We should know, hopefully, by the end of next week,” said Superintendent Jim Bogle at Thursday night’s board meeting.
If it’s held, Crocker’s summer school is expected to be from June 1 to June 30 from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., but held only four days per week with no classes on Friday, according to an April 20 letter sent to parents. The longer days are needed to accommodate state requirements for a 120-hour program; free school breakfast and free school lunch would be served from 7:45 to 8 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The problem is that summer school depends on state budget decisions.
“We really don’t know what the state is going to do on summer school; I don’t know if they are going to fund it or if they’re not,” said summer school director Alice Carlton.
Regardless of what state officials do, Carlton said Crocker needs to offer some programs for its own benefit.
“I was going to recommend that we go ahead and fund the high school credit recovery and driver’s education,” Carlton said, recommended that Coach Tim Hardesty teach driver’s education even though he will be retiring.
Board members Dawn Kubinski and Kris York said summer school is so important for students that board members need to find a way to keep the program even if the state won’t pay for any of it.
“Is there any way we could we charge for driver’s ed?” Kubinski asked. “Even if we had to pay $50 it would be good … They need it; I spent two hours up here trying to teach how to parallel park. I could not be a driver’s ed teacher.”
“They need driver’s ed,” York said. “It used to be we had it in school during school, now we have it in summer school, now we are looking at charging for it. I just think we need to find a way to have it and not charge for it.”
Carlton said charging for driver’s education is an option and she could look into that.
“We could (charge), I suppose. I was told that the School of the Osage was going to be changing but then Mr. Bogle found out they are not,” Carlton said. “I think $100 is just too much money for kids to do driver’s ed.”
The other program that needs to be kept, Carlton said, is credit recovery.
Without that program, some Crocker students would not be able to graduate on time; left unstated in the meeting was the reality that students who know they won’t graduate on time may drop out of school entirely, and that would cost Crocker more than the cost to offer credit recovery as well as harming the student who drops out.
“I would like to believe that we won’t need credit recovery and that everybody’s got their credits. That would be really nice but we have to be ready for it,” Carlton said.
“What dream world do you live in? We do need to provide this as a special program for the kids who need it,” said High School Principal Tami Bobbitt.
“When we first started credit recovery I really didn’t like it, but then when I met some of the kids who come to credit recovery,” Carlton said. “I call their parents and they go, ‘Oh, I thought they were in school,’ or, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know they were going to summer school,’ I’m not too sure, if no one asked me how I was doing in school or would get up and was there when it was time for me to go to school, and ask how my life is and watch my grades, I’m not too sure that I would have done very well in high school either, and not everyone lives with parents. And some kids just get themselves in a bind and they need this so we can get them graduated and into the working world.”
Bogle recommended not charging for summer school and using a single bus with students walking longer to locations for pickup, and said he anticipates some level of state funding though it’s not yet clear what the state legislature will decide to fund.
“If they do fund it, it may just be for math, science, English and history, the core subject areas. They have not really defined those as of yet,” Bogle said. “We are hoping that even if that’s all they cover, we’re going to try to figure out how to do credit recovery and driver’s education for our students, too.”
Carlton presented a list of teachers who she said are willing to teach summer school if it’s offered. Those teachers are Elaine King, Heather Luttrell, Cheryl Lupardus, Carol Singleton, and Theresa Helton, as well as Shelly Adams who would work as an aide. Board members authorized district staff to determine how many of the teachers would be needed depending on what programs state officials agree to fund.
“I hate being so vague, but we just don’t know what the state is going to do,” Carlton said.