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Board reviews new spending for schools

District 65’s Program and Policy Committee Monday recommended spending $2.3 million on 27 new program initiatives during the next school year.

“We are in a strong financial position,” Superintendent Hardy Murphy said. “We can move forward” to support these programs.

The new budget includes books for the reading and language arts program and the pilot African-centered curriculum program.

Other programs proposed include the addition of two half-time teachers in the math departments. One would work in grades 3-5 and the other in middle school instruction.

Also in the math department, a proposal for the development of the Grade 6 Everyday Math Compacted curriculum and Agile Minds algebra programs through monthly planning sessions involving teachers, a math cadre and interim math coordinator.

In addition, the budget also included the purchase of 12 more kits for the Trees unit taught in Kindergarten. According to the proposal, teachers have found sharing of one kit per school difficult.

The science department has also proposed to update the sexual health unit taught in fifth grade. The materials are out of date and three copies are shared among twelve schools. The estimated cost for this is $6,000.

A three-year technology plan approved last year called for spending $600,000 on equipment each year, but the spending was cut to $500,000 for the first year. The new budget calls for returning to the $600,000 funding level.

The funds are used to set up computer labs in the schools and license software. The board also proposed adding technology staff members to support the growing technology in the schools.

The budget plan next goes to the board’s Finance Committee, which is scheduled to meet June 12.

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