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Personal finance course will be required for graduation

Staff writer

All high schools strive to equip their graduates with the tools to survive in “the real world.” Despite this, some don’t educate students about what, according to the saying, makes the world go ‘round.

Marion High School will no longer be one of those schools, starting with the class of 2017.

At its monthly meeting Monday, the USD 408 Board of Education voted to make a year of personal finance credit a requirement for graduation.

Principal Tod Gordon asked the board to consider a mandatory personal finance literacy course for students.

He showed various syllabuses for personal finance courses — including in business, mathematics, and family and consumer sciences.

He also referenced Bill No. 2475 that passed the house but not the state senate last year, which could make personal finance courses a statewide requirement.

“Everyone feels this is important,” Gordon said.

A previous family and consumer sciences course was dropped due to budget tightening in recent years, but Gordon said the syllabus from that course could be used.

Gordon also said the course will be restricted to juniors and seniors. He said a computer applications class required for freshmen or sophomores didn’t go well, and that younger students aren’t old enough to make the learning meaningful and lasting.

“We just don’t think they’re ready for it,” he said.

The topic was put on the agenda as a discussion item, but Jan Helmer motioned for its approval and the motion passed.

The class would be funded by Pathways, which provides $340 per student enrolled in the class.

Gordon said Marion resident Bob Brookens suggests an online version of the class be made available to the general public, and Gordon said that might be possible through Butler Community College.

Gordon said while the state law would likely require a semester of financial literacy education, his plan wanted students to take a full-year course.

In other business:

  • Next USD 408 Board of Education meeting will be Dec. 8 at 7 a.m., and will be followed by a tour and review of various district facilities.
  • Superintendent Lee Leiker presented to the board on the district’s fixed income budget, which runs about $4,089,389 altogether, greater than the district’s general fund of $4,030,348. “This shows the importance of our local option budget,” Leiker said.
  • The high school musical performance of “Oklahoma!” will still take place Saturday and Sunday, even though the Warriors football team will not be playing a game Friday night, which was the initial reason for the proposed change.
  • Mayor Todd Heitschmidt presented to the board and asked them to think of ideas for their vision of the city of Marion as part of the city council’s recent visioning efforts.
  • Recreation board director Margo Yates asked for and received approval to use the Sports and Aquatic Center for the recreational basketball league she runs, which she said has 71 teams signed up.

Last modified Nov. 12, 2014

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