Class size and legal matters dominated the discussions at Tuesday's Columbia County school board meeting.
The board unanimously approved a resolution on state legislation governing class size.
"This allowed the class size to be decided by the local board of education rather than the state board of education," Superintendent Charles Nagle said.
He said the resolution will give him the leeway to set class size so that it does not exceed a maximum of 32 students for some high school classes.
"We're not going to exceed the 32. We're not going to exceed that, no matter what," Nagle said.
But he said the school system, which tries to limit the size of high school electives to 30 students, might add an additional student to an elective class.
Nagle also said the system will try to keep the maximum number of students in high school labs at 28.
In its discussions of legal matters, the board agreed to budget $60,000 in additional funds to cover legal fees for the 2006-07 school year.
School system Controller Pat Sullivan said transferring this amount from the general fund would bring the total line item for the year's legal services to $106,000.
The school board also agreed to form a committee to develop a request for proposals for legal counsel. Board members said the variety and complexity of recent legal issues were the catalyst for forming the committee.
Bill Fleming, who has a solo practice, has represented the board for several years.
After the meeting, Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said the board needs to be represented by a law firm with multiple attorneys who have different areas of expertise.
She said Fleming has hired other attorneys to help with various school board issues. However, she said, "With each new lawyer we work with, we're not his No. 1 client."
As a result, it takes longer for the board to settle legal matters, she said.
Superintendent Charles Nagle said the types of legal issues the board has encountered recently include personnel, worker's compensation, real estate, transportation and special education.
"We've had parents who question whether their children are getting the special education services they need," Buccafusco said. "That's probably the most complex issue of all."
The committee will examine the type and amount of recent legal services.
The group likely will be made up of Nagle; Tommy Price, the recently retired superintendent who will work for the school system part time in 2007-08; and two school board members.
Buccafusco said she would like to make a decision about legal counsel by November and name the board's attorney at the first meeting in January.
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