Carbon School Board Weighs Benefits of Gifted and Talented Programs

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During the Carbon School Board’s monthly meeting on April 9, members discussed the benefits of gifted and talented programs. Lack of funding for such programs has put the brakes on schools offering courses to students in the Carbon district, with the exception of Creekview Elementary.

Special government funding has been allocated for several years to Creekview for their gifted and talented program. Following the Utah legislative season earlier this year, it was determined that funding dollars for education are slim. Programs such as gifted and talented could be affected down the road. However, for now, board members have no plans of terminating the course. Instead, they would like to see other schools in the district offer similar programs, but funding may prevent this from happening.

It was explained that these programs help stimulate continued learning for the top 3-5% of students based upon test scores and teacher recommendations. At Creekview, students enrolled in the program are taught by a certified teacher nine hours each week. The budget for this year’s gifted and talented program was approximately $13,000, which came from government funding. It is expected that the cost will rise next school year to $16,800.

Because funding from the government is based on tax revenue and proportioned by lawmakers, the school board is concerned about the gifted and talented program’s future. All board members agreed that they will look into contributing funds to the program when and if necessary.

“We focus on students who struggle in school and we should,” stated board member Kristen Taylor. “But I think we need to also focus on kids who are at the top.”

Discussion was also made about incorporating similar programs in all Carbon elementary schools. This idea was well liked by all board members, but funding will limit what can be done. With several factors to look at, the school board vowed to not limit their options when it comes to gifted and talented programs. Because the matter was only a discussion item on the meeting agenda, no decisions were made regarding the situation.

In other matters, the school board approved out-of-state travel requests for FBLA and FCCLA national qualifying teams. The Future Business Leaders of America team will travel to Nashville while members of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America team will visit San Antonio this summer to compete in the national events.

Helper Junior High student Mason Rogers appeared before the school board and explained the importance of attending the national FCCLA competition. Rogers and his team invented a healthy frozen treat for kids, which earned them state recognition and advanced them into the national event.

Convinced that Rogers and the other students who will attend out-of-state competitions will benefit from the experience, the school board approved the travel request.

During the March school board meeting, members of Carbon High’s soccer teams explained that the current field is not up to par. They asked that the board look into replacing or repairing the field. In the past month, several board members and superintendent Steve Carlsen all researched the matter.

Research revealed that artificial turf is good if excavation and preparation is done correctly. However, turf also comes with a high price tag of approximately $750,000 to $800,000. Most turf carries a warranty of eight years and periodically does need replaced due to damage, mainly from the sun. The cost of replacement is about $300,000 to $400,000.

Because soccer is growing in popularity, the school board is interested in possible funding from outside agencies. This matter will be looked into during the coming weeks. No decision has been made regarding the soccer field, but board members are seriously considering the matter.

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