Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board Set in Session; Cost $2700

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Board Set in Session; Cost $2700

Article excerpt

Francis Howell School District board members and top administrators will have an overnight planning session tonight and Saturday in Franklin County.

The cost of the session at the Cedar Creek Conference Center, near New Haven, is $2,700.

District officials have attended such conferences for about six years. Superintendent Lee Brittenham said the session was discussed at board and staff meetings and was posted legally as an open meeting. District board members and officials have met at such sites as the Innsbruck Conference Center at Warrenton and the Fordyce Conference Center in south St. Louis County. No other districts in St. Charles County hold such sessions away from district offices. Brittenham said he believed the issue of holding such meetings away from the central office "gets lost when only the cost is talked about. At issue here is the time that it takes to do advanced planning in an operation like ours. This board has given more than 10 Saturdays and Sundays in the year. . . . This is work, no golf, no weekend, no play. These are work sessions." The agenda shows a two-hour work session after dinner tonight, with breakfast from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday, followed by a four-hour work session, noon lunch and another work session from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Brittenham said it was necessary to sit down with board members and focus on complex district issues. Brittenham said the session tonight will focus on what each of the major departments will be doing for next school year. On Saturday, the superintendent said, those attending "will take a look at how the district should assess its students and programs. We have ways of assessing things but never a thorough plan to do it." As a result, he said, the district will have a comprehensive plan for assessing student achievement as well as the operations of such areas as human resources, food service and transportation. "It's most important to get board help on deciding on how we assess student achievement," the superintendent said. Board President Carol Stampley said that a recent Senate bill requires more training than that done in the past. …

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