Cape Girardeau School District not planning to hire consultant to conduct facilities audit

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

After hours of discussion and presentations from two consulting firms, administrators in the Cape Girardeau School District have decided to proceed with a facilities audit on their own, at least initially.

At a board meeting Monday, the district's director of administrative services presented an outline for development. It calls for data gathering to be completed in January, committees to meet through April, and a draft plan created over the summer.

After the meeting the director, Neil Glass, said that with the economy, "I would rather try to do it myself with the resources we have available. If I get stuck, we can bring someone in, maybe on an hourly basis."

Some board members were surprised at the news. "This is the first time I've seen this plan," said member Dr. Steve Trautwein.

The board had discussed hiring a consultant because of the experience and expertise he or she would bring, along with an unbiased and outsider's perspective. A facilities audit can cause controversy, particularly if it lists schools that should be closed or suggests redistricting. Despite hearing from two consultants, no vote was taken on hiring one.

During a November board meeting, the consultant idea was put on hold as the board discussed first hiring a consultant to perform a curriculum audit. Several members said the district's declining graduation rate was cause for alarm, along with an achievement gap among subgroups of students.

Board vice president Paul Nenninger said Monday the board's first priority is student achievement. He supported a motion to hire a representative from the Missouri School Board Association to discuss ways boards can read and use achievement data. The board has asked for more routine updates on student performance data, which administrators are working to gather.

At the meeting, the board also approved a new course, Advanced Placement European History, and approved budget amendments to account for approved grant funding and a $338,778 decrease in Proposition C, or sales tax, revenue.

lbavolek@semissourian.com

388-3627

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