School board makes math credit change

The Willow Springs school board revised math credits required to graduate from high school at the regular monthly meeting June 12.
High school principal Nick Schmitt told the board that students currently must have three math credits to graduate from Willow Springs High School. Algebra I, however, may be taken by eighth-grade students and counts as a high-school credit, allowing students to take geometry as a freshman and Algebra II as a sophomore.
“The concern is they may not take math for two years, then they to college and they’re not in a good spot,” said Schmitt. “We saw this as not putting our kids in the best situation.”
Schmitt said some universities, like the University of Missouri and Missouri S&T, require four high school math credits for admission. He said Missouri State University requires three but recommends four.
He said the issue was discussed among staff and with the student advisory council. Nolan Perkins, student body representative to the board, said the advisory council also agreed it was probably best to discontinue accepting the Algebra I credit to count toward high school.
Board president Mac Gum asked if revising requirements would discourage students from taking algebra in eighth grade. Schmitt said he believed college-bound students who wanted to take more advanced math classes likely would take it anyway. 
Board members also asked if math requirements should be raised to four, but Schmitt said, “There are a lot of kids who don’t need four.” He said options are being examined, as well, for students who may not be college bound, perhaps counting vocational classes such as carpentry toward math credit. Those issues are still being studied.
The board approved the proposal, which will apply to students entering eighth grade this fall for the 2023-2024 school year. 
In other business:
• The board took routine action to amend the 2023 budget to match actual spending and revenues, to transfer funds as needed to close out the 2023 budget, and to approve the 2024 budget. Superintendent Dr. Marty Spence said there had been no changes to the budget since previous discussion. At the May meeting, the board approved a 3 percent raise for certified staff, along with other changes to the salary schedule. 
• The board also approved Spence’s recommendation to keep meal prices the same for the upcoming school year. Those prices will be $1.20 for student breakfast and $2 for staff; $2.40 for student lunch, with staff paying $3.75; and 35 cents for milk.
• Chris Waggoner discussed the district scorecard and textbook purchasing plan, after the board approved purchasing new math curriculum for kindergarten through fourth grade at the May meeting. Waggoner explained that most curriculum is on a six-year cycle for purchase of new materials. He outlined where the district is for different grade levels for specific curricula.
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