Students in the St. Clair R-XIII School District now will have an additional opportunity to receive some additional academic assistance outside the classroom.
By a 4-0 vote with two abstentions, the board of education approved rolling out an after-school program geared toward remedial education but designed to provide help to all students who struggle academically.
“We’ve been focusing on a quality education in the school day,” Superintendent Mike Murphy told board members during their September meeting. “We’re coming to a bridge where we need to provide more instruction outside the confines of the school day.”
The program will be available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at all four regular schools in the district. Times would be 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. at St. Clair Elementary and 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the other three schools — Edgar Murray, St. Clair Junior High and the high school.
“The rationale is there for the program,” Murphy said. “It will be student driven. We’re trying to be visionary in developing this program.”
Murphy said the R-XIII district has offered tutoring services in the past, but this program will be more in-depth.
Assistant Superintendent Tanya Vest agreed.
“This will be curriculum driven,” she said.
Murphy said limited bus service will be provided, which he said is the first time the district has offered transportation for an after-school program.
The program will be available to all students from kindergarten through 12th-graders.
Information provided about the program states its goal is to “provide opportunities for students to improve academic achievement as an extension of the school day in core subject areas.”
The estimated number of students who could be served is 500 to 600. As many as 35 teachers could be used. They will be paid $24 per hour on top of their regular salary, which is the same as the district’s summer school pay schedule.
Information also states that Title I funding will be used at the elementary level to help fund the program. The district also can collect additional Average Daily Attendance monies for remedial students who meet certain criteria. The remainder of the money needed will come out of the R-XIII budget.
“In a worst-case scenario, we could do an amendment to the budget to help pay for this,” said Murphy, who said if the program is fully implemented, it could cost the district up to $70,000.
However, he said since it will be student driven, teachers will not be employed if there is not a need for them.
“We could get to a point where if we don’t have the kids, we won’t have the program,” he said. “We won’t staff this and then hope the kids come.”
School board President Dave Berkel said he thought the program was a good idea.
“It’s a good step to increase academic achievement,” he said. “I think it will be worth the money.”
Board members Dave Hinson and Mike Drewel abstained from the vote. Steve Pelton, Andy Geisert, Tracy Komo and Danny Gossett approved it.
For more information, call the St. Clair R-XIII School District at 636-629-3500.