Additional tech support, $200,000 for track among needs outlined by Starkville school administrators

March 2, 2009



STARKVILLE -- Starkville School District''s technology department needs an additional staffer to help provide computer support across the district, according to Marion Schiefer, who heads the department. 


And the district will need to spend an additional $200,000 to complete work on the Starkville High School track. 


The needs were presented to the district''s school board last week; the meeting rounded out a series of administrator reports as the district prepares to plan for next year''s budget. School districts'' fiscal year ends June 31 and begins anew July 1. 


Schiefer currently has three-full time technology employees and two part-time workers, making a ratio of 400:1, computers to tech support staff. She also said the district needs updated virus protection and a better Web-filtering system. 


"We''re testing a new Web-filtering (system) we''re hoping will be the thing to help us," Schiefer said, adding later that "there''s nothing out there that''s perfect." 


One very visible goal she has for the upcoming year is to institute a Web-based student database that will eventually have a portal where parents can access information about their children online. When board member Keith Coble questioned her on this, Schiefer said it "is supposed to be very secure." 




Athletic needs 


Bill Lee, athletics director, noted the district''s coaches are doing a better job of keeping up with grades, attendance and discipline for each athlete all year long, not just when that sport is in session. His primary request was for $200,000 to finish renovating the high school track so the district can once again host track meets. 


Joan Butler, director of the district''s Family-Centered Programs, requested a facelift for the facility, although the program will be moving to Overstreet once the district''s third grade moves to Henderson Ward Stewart when bond issue construction is complete. This move also should address the school''s needs for more space for classes and services. 


The school is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each weekday and offers longer educational days, weekend classes and year-round programs, as well as offering classes and educational opportunities in homes, churches and traditional classrooms. 


"Our approach is so different from the traditional educational setting," Butler said, later repeating a major request from last year -- asking the school district to offer a pre-kindergarten program. 


Starting such a program would cost the district $250,000 the first year, but Butler said it is needed. 


Additionally, Lynn Shea, who is in her first year as principal at Overstreet Elementary School, reported the school is strong in many areas, including academic improvement. Kathi Wilson, principal of Starkville High School, said the school has had a rise in achievement index level each year. June 30 is Wilson''s last day as principal of Starkville High; she submitted a resignation Feb. 18.