Budget issues have forced the Culver School Board to consider removing the April intercession period from the school calendar. It’s a one-week period immediately following spring break in which students who are struggling with certain classes can work to improve their grades.
School principals reported that the October intercession was well-attended by elementary and high school students. However, Culver Schools superintendent Vicki McGuire says the corporation doesn’t have the money in its general fund to pay for the second intercession period, “We just can’t afford it. We don’t get any money back for that, and so we have spent our remediation money already on our first intercession and then a little bit more, even, than we get for remediation.”
School board secretary Mark Maes wondered why there wasn’t enough money, “So, is this just a matter of not enough money was budgeted or the costs were higher than we thought or what? We could afford it at the beginning when we thought about the balanced calendar, but then we decided we can’t afford it?”
The superintendent, as well as treasurer Casey Howard, noted that the corporation didn’t know ahead of time how much remediation funding it would be getting from the state or how many teachers it would need for the intercession. On top of that, Howard says confusion over how funding for summer school is budgeted led to a good portion of the remediation funds being used up, even before the first intercession, “It’s very confusing for some people to know that summer school has a pot, remediation has a pot; and over the last couple years, it’s kind of gotten intertwined, I think, with the turnover between all of us treasurers in here. So I think that’s why some of your remediation money might have gotten used up with some of your summer school, so maybe next year might be a little bit better because we’re going to keep it completely in separate pots.”
Culver Schools ended up spending over $11,000 for the fall intercession. That’s more than what was budgeted for both intercession periods combined.
Some school board members noted that the remediation periods were part of what motivated the switch to a balanced calendar in the first place, and they were reluctant to take one of those away. Ryan Sieber says in spite of going over budget, the fall intercession seemed to work, “I guess going into this, we didn’t know how many teachers we were going to need either for the intercession, until you get the kids that come. I was very excited when I heard the turnout, and the fact that if we have those students needing reaching out for assistance, I thought that was awesome that we were able to do this. To me, that really reemphasized my decision on voting for the balanced calendar. This was the biggest driver for me to push that way.”
The school board decided to postpone a decision until they could see if there’s a way the corporation could afford to keep the remediation efforts in place, at least for those students who need it most.