Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price outlined a list of legislative priorities to board members at a Tuesday meeting.
Among the priorities he mentioned is the restoration of $9.3 million denied the system because of a slow economy straining the state budget. The shortfall forced school officials to dip into the county reserves to make up for the lost funding.
"The economy has improved, and we, like many other systems, would like the money we lost returned to us," Price said.
Other priorities include asking the state Legislature to delay further reducing class sizes, not to consider new programs without making sure local systems can afford them, strengthening the public school employee's retirement system, and to allow systems to spend money without extensive scrutinizing on the state level.
Price planned to send a letter to each member of the Columbia County legislative delegation listing the priorities before the end of the work week.
Also, school board members gave final approval to a zoning plan for a new elementary school on Mullikin Road.
The plan moves some pupils currently attending Riverside, Greenbrier and Stevens Creek elementary schools and places them in a zone for the new school, which opens in August.
Riverside Elementary will be affected the most by the rezoning and could lose about 350 pupils. Stevens Creek Elementary might lose nearly 40 pupils to the new school.
About 250 pupils from Greenbrier Elementary will be divided between the new school and Riverside Elementary.
A waiver approved by the board lets pupils currently attending Stevens Creek Elementary to remain at the school in order to continue Spanish-language instruction, which won't be offered at the Mullikin Road school.
Another approved waiver for rising fifth-graders at Greenbrier Elementary allows them to remain at the school. That way, students won't be removed from the Greenbrier schools complex for a year and then returned the following year to attend Greenbrier Middle.
Both waivers require parents to provide transportation for their children to the schools as buses will only transport students to the school in which they are zoned.
A parent at the meeting asked board members to also consider a waiver for rising fifth-graders at Riverside Elementary to stay at that school.
"We know exceptions have been made at two other schools, and we feel we should be treated with the same fairness," said Evans resident Kristine Brown, who has a daughter attending fourth grade at Riverside Elementary.
The board said they would consider the request.
"I and other board members have spoken to parents that seem satisfied with the rezoning, but this is the first I've heard of this lady's concern," Board Member Mike Sleeper said. "I need to get more information before I can decide."
Brown said she was satisfied that the board will consider her waiver request.
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