Two programs administered by the Maryville R-II School District's special education department have been de-funded.
District Special Education Director Michelle McCollum recently informed the Board of Education that R-II is losing its High School Transition and Elementary Achievement grants.
She said the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offered no explanation about why funding is being discontinued. Since 2009, the two grants have provided the district with a total of $30,000.
At Eugene Field Elementary School, $15,000 was used for the school-wide positive behavior support initiative. Across town at the high school, the rest of the money went for a "check and connect" mentoring program.
The funds mostly provided professional development for faculty and staff at both schools.
The positive behavior program is designed to help students learn such character traits as respect and courteousness. "Check and Connect" is a teacher-student mentoring program at Maryville High School aimed at teens who may be in danger of dropping out.
Students are paired with faculty members who monitor grades and and other factors during weekly or even daily meetings.
The grant mostly pays for outside speakers on professional development days.
Last year, only 20 teachers were certified as mentors. Currently all teachers at the high school are capable of mentoring high-risk students.
McCollum believes both programs will be able to continue without the funding.
"We won't be able to have professional development speakers on mentoring," McCollum said. "But thanks to our staff, our teachers can handle 'check and connect.' We should be in good shape. It will look different, but we will still be meeting the needs of the kids in our district."
Though McCollum is confident that the special education program can continue both initiatives, she said the district is currently seeking other forms of funding.
"You are always searching, always looking to save money and still find good, positive things for the students," she said. "You just work out new ways to continue the initiatives that were started with the grants."