SIKESTON -- Sikeston Public Schools is joining other Missouri school districts and becoming members of the Committee for Educational Equality.
To get equity and adequacy through Senate Bill 380 in the early 1990s, 385 school districts across the state filed a suit and each pledged $5,000 to pay for it. Several Missouri school districts are trying their hands at this litigation again, and the Sikeston Board of Education voted in favor of joining their efforts at the regular meeting Tuesday.
"What has been determined is that an attorney has agreed to serve for this process should we get to that point in time," noted Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller. "It's the same attorney who served in regards to the identical issue back in the early 1990s."
Last week Borgsmiller attended a Southeast Missouri Superintendents meeting at Mineral Area College, where it was agreed upon that school districts that have not recommended to their boards of education to join the effort to do so, Borgsmiller said.
When membership hits 100, which is expected to occur this month, the committee is going to become a statewide group with representatives from all parts of the state getting involved, Borgsmiller explained. Sikeston will be paying an initial assessment of $200, he said.
"I'm not going to tell you it won't cost us money, but the end result has been very beneficial to us," Borgsmiller said. "And I have no reason to believe it will not be successful."
Keeping on the topic of funding, Sikeston Public Schools Treasurer Lori Boardman discussed the most recent simulations of projected budget cuts released Tuesday afternoon by Department of Secondary and Elementary Education Commissioner Kent King.
"It's reflecting that the House and Senate approved $224 million reduction in funding, of which $163 million would be run through the foundation formula," Boardman said about the projections. "It would cost us about $705,000."
The remainder of the $224 million cuts are proposed in several in other areas, including: technology grants - $8.8 million; A-Plus Schools - $5.9 million; Safe Schools Grants - $2.6 million; Parents as Teachers - $2.4 million; Vocational Education - $800,000. Boardman didn't have exact numbers on how these reductions would reflect against Sikeston.
"The good news is it looks like if these numbers stand and are approved, we'll only have a 3.6 percent reduction, or $771,400, in career ladders as opposed to the 17 percent originally projected," Boardman told the board. "The best we can do is keep reading e-mails and newspaper articles to try to keep you posted."
The legislature's regular session ends at 6 p.m. Friday. Boardman also noted health insurance renewal is on the table and the insurance committee will vote at 4 p.m. Thursday at the middle school. The proposal on the table is an 18 percent increase, she said.
Other items addressed at Tuesday's meeting included:
* Approximately 200 Sikeston Senior High students will graduate at the 7 p.m. ceremony May 20 at the Sikeston Field House, according to Sikeston High School Principal Tom Williams.
"We have asked police officers to check the facility to make sure everything is secure and supervision inside and outside has been set up," Williams told the board.
* The last day of Sikeston Public Schools is May 23, which is a half day. Finals are May 21, 22 and 23.
* The board hired Caroline K. Leimer as a secondary math teacher and Thresia M. Brinkley was hired as a business teacher for the Sikeston Career and Technology Center.
* Board members recognized several people at Tuesday's meeting including: Carolyn Harris, Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year; fourth grader Christian Dzurny, who placed second and fourth at the elementary Regional Math Contest; Ben Priday, who won the American Legion Essay Contest; and choral and orchestra state music contest winners.
* Revisions of the K-12 art and sixth grade physical education curriculums were approved.