Independent vo-tech classes for Oktibbeha not feasible this year

May 5, 2009



STARKVILLE -- Oktibbeha County schools will continue to send students to the Millsaps Career and Technology Center, but they asked officials to gather data on what it would take to run their own program. 


The vo-tech vote was postponed from last meeting when the board wanted to look into offering their own program. Assistant Superintendent Jerome Smith told the board it''s more cost effective to participate in the local vocational consortium offered by the Starkville School District. 


"To run individual programs at each school would be cost prohibitive," Smith said. "When you''re talking about a vocational complex, you''re talking about large sums of money." 


The district sends between 40 and 50 students to Starkville for vocational classes at $7,800 per student. Offering a vocational program would require paying teacher salaries for each course of study, finding space to house the programs and purchasing equipment for the students to use. 


The board approved another year of participating in the consortium, but asked Smith to bring them numbers showing what the creation of such a program locally would cost. 


The board also approved a new pre-kindergarten program at East Elementary and renewed the existing program at West Elementary. Superintendent James Covington said there will be room for 20 students at each school; they already have registered 23 for the new program at East Elementary. 


In other business, Covington announced that the school district was awarded an $181,570 competitive Enhancing Technology Through Education grant, also known as an E2T2 award. The school district has applied for this grant several times in the past and has made it to the interview stage, but this year received the award. 


Covington said the money will be used to purchase a cart containing 24 wireless laptop computers and to fund a technology position to help teachers use this portable technology in their classrooms.