Columbia considers 'community school' to close gap

Sep 30, 2013

A Columbia school official is proposing the district start a "community school" to help poorer students improve their academics.

Assistant superintendent of elementary education Peter Stiepleman says elementary school students who qualify for free or reduced lunches would be chosen through a lottery to attend the school. He says the ideal size would be about 300 students who would attend school from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. all year.

And the classrooms would be based on the students' abilities, rather than their age.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/174JWRF ) the school is only an idea for now. But Stiepleman says he has a plan to make it happen. He says the first step is to pass a $50 million bond issue in April, which would cause an 8-cent tax increase.