Board pleased with academic, financial report

Published 5:43 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

Data released by Superintendent Mike Looney to the Board of Education on Thursday indicate the school system is meeting academic and financial challenges, said Board President Joe Lisenby.

“It does show this system has consistently moved in the right direction and continues to do so,” he said. “We are grateful to our teachers for their hard work.”

Looney presented seven performance indicators, spotlighting the system’s financial condition, facilities, instructional time, extracurricular activities, No Child Left Behind progress, increased academic opportunities for students, and academic achievement.

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The data shows:

– The school system has nearly $2 million in reserve funds and is working with a balanced budget despite losing $1.8 million in state funding due to proration.

– Five of 9 construction projects are complete, McKenzie renovations will begin within 90 days and the Butler County Magnet School and W.O. Parmer addition are on schedule to open in 2009 and come in under budget.

– The county averaged 67 more students per day in school in 2008-2009 than in 2004-2005, and employee absences have fallen from 3,412 in 2005 to 2,173 in 2008.

– Extracurricular activities increased from 92 in 2007 to 162 in 2009.

– The system saw a drop in NCLB progress in 2009, meeting 66.7 percent of goals versus 89 percent the year before. School officials said the drop was due to a failure to meet the reading goals for special education students, problems which they hope have been addressed this year.

– The system expanded Advanced Placement courses from three to seven and is offering dual enrollment classes with LBWCC-Greenville. Additionally, the opening of the Butler County Magnet School will offer students a broader curriculum.

– College scholarships have increased from $424,292 in 2005 to $3,156,856 in 2009.

– Academic achievement, overall, has also increased, with students showing higher proficiency in reading and mathematics, said Rita Wright, Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum.