JAY — Spruce Mountain High School students graduating in 2021 and beyond will have to earn 25 credits with one year-long economics course.

Feb. 14 the Regional School Unit 73 directors unanimously voted to add one additional credit to the 24 now required. The vote was taken after hearing a presentation from the social studies department on the need for more than an elective economics option.

SMHS Principal TJ Plourde said academic programming offered at the school was examined as part of the accreditation process. Students need to be aware of economic factors that impact their daily lives, not only from an individual perspective. Appreciating economics locally, at the state and federal level and how economics impact the global economy must also be understood.

Plourde said current juniors and seniors will have the option of taking the economics elective which will still be offered over the next two years, if needed.

He said there will be no additional expense to the District. Current books and digital resources will be used to implement the change. All social studies teachers at SMHS are certified to oversee instruction of the new courses.

“This requirement will only benefit our students,” Plourde said.

Jeremy Garth, who will spearhead implementation of the new program, said the course will cover personal finances such as balancing a checking account, how to buy a house or car, credit, insurance and budgeting.

Garth said the stock market, what roles history has played in the economy, business in general, the role of the government in business and economics of the future will be covered.

Part two of personal finance will look at what a typical 28 year old experiences, such as how to do taxes, credit, mortgages, he said.

“We really need the full year to fit it all in. It doesn’t fit into our classes without sacrificing something else,” Garth said.  “We’re missing the personal finance piece. It’s a state requirement. Parents want it, support it.”

When asked how many economics classes are currently offered, Garth said one now with three next year.

“The first year will be a roll-out to see what we need. As we move forward, we’ll get more classes,” Plourde said.

Board member Joel Pike asked where the new requirements would put Spruce Mountain compared to other schools.

Plourde said, “With 24 we’re ahead of what many schools require. It’s going to be mandated to do it (economics) pretty soon.”

In other business, Plourde spoke of a family that recently lost their home in a fire.

“They need everything. Beds, pots, pans,” Plourde said.

He said donations may be brought to the high school during vacation. Items will be delivered after vacation.

A combined school board and budget meeting will be held 6 p.m., Feb. 28 at the Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore.

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