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Morgan says schools will cost county more

December 11, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday that federal legislation and vanishing grant funding will force the school system to ask for more money from the county.

Morgan, in a joint meeting with the Washington County Board of Education and the County Commissioners, said that the federal act, No Child Left Behind, will require the school system's teachers to get more certification, which isn't cheap.

The No Child Left Behind program is intended to raise the standardized bar for students, teachers and schools.

Morgan said teachers already get reimbursed for taking college master's course credits and teacher certification courses. She said with the new federal mandate asking all teachers to be highly qualified, more teachers will have to go back to school.

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She said after the meeting that the School Board has not begun to figure out how much extra money will be needed to help teachers pay for taking classes. The school system is not sure how many teachers already meet federally mandated qualification standards, she said.

Under the act, teachers who have taught for 20 years may have to take extra certification classes to get up to speed on current practices, she said. Teachers who teach different disciplines, such as a history teacher who also teaches an English course, will have to be certified in both, she said.

Morgan and senior staff gave the commissioners a list of grants that the school system is losing and others that may bring in less money than expected.

Schools Director of Elementary Education JoEtta Palkovitz-Brown said the school system will lose $3 million in grants that have run out. She said those grants mainly funded special education, drug and violence prevention and gifted students programs.

School officials are uncertain whether an additional $420,000 in grant money will be available.

Palkovitz-Brown said money that was allocated for specific programs will be used as Bridge to Excellence funding, state money that is used to fund education.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the county wants to help the School Board, but said it is too soon to know how much money the county can provide.

"We do want to work with the Board of Education because they've done a good job," he said.

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