ST. ELMO — St. Elmo School District is drafting a schoolwide plan for the elementary school that will make funds available to help all students and not just some.

The board Monday evening approved the draft that would change the school’s plan from Title l targeted assistance to schoolwide.

Currently, Title l funds are used for learning intervention programs only for students identified as needing them. About 60 students utilize the funds. With the new plan, the district would be able to use Title l funds for all students, about 240.

In order to qualify for funds, more than 40 percent of the students have to meet state poverty standards, which the district has qualified in the last few years, with 51 percent poverty at the elementary level and 57 percent at junior high.

“Statistics show that with poverty comes learning difficulties,” said Superintendent Deborah Philpot, adding the state is now focusing on more than just those identified as needing assistance by making it easier for districts to change their plans.

While Philpot said the district would still focus on students who are struggling, by going to a schoolwide plan, the educators would be able to work with all students at various levels.

The schoolwide plan gives the district more flexibility on how the funds are used, allowing them to possibly purchase classroom equipment, such as Smartboards.

The district is not looking at changing the junior-senior high school’s plan at this time.

“Our thinking is if we get students to learn at the elementary level the way they should, it would follow them to junior high,” said Philpot.

The plan will go into effect if the board adopts it at next month’s meeting.

Board members also learned Philpot is hoping to make the district’s school kitchens greener.

Philpot told the board she is applying for grants available through stimulus funds to make the district’s kitchens more energy efficient.

She is applying to get new walk-in freezers and coolers at the elementary and junior high schools, as well as mixers and cooking stoves to replace the decades-old equipment.

“If we get it for one school, it would be a good thing,” she said.

Prior to the meeting, the board seated new members Andra Carson and Chad Wilhour, who replaced retired members Bruce Austin and Stanton Stine.

Stanton served one four-year term on the board and Stanton served 16 years.

The board also elected new officers and in the process changed the president’s term from one to two years.

Randy Myers was re-elected as president, Dean Buzzard was elected vice president and Kevin Maxey was re-elected secretary.

The board set board meeting times at 7:30 p.m. every third Monday throughout the year.


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