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News from the Board -- May 19, 2020Posted by Jessica Coston on 5/20/2020 11:00:00 AM
On Tuesday, May 19, the Onslow County Board of Education held a special meeting at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center to discuss necessary changes to the 2020-2021 calendar, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
OCS Chief Communications Officer Brent Anderson presented to the Board the updated calendars that he and his colleagues drafted for the 2020-2021 school year. Mr. Anderson began his presentation by outlining the new calendar requirements outlined by Senate Bill 704, which was recently passed by the NC General Assembly. The bill maintained the standard requirements of exactly 215 days of employment for teachers, and at least 185 instructional days OR 1,025 instructional hours for students. New requirements for next year include a mandatory start date of August 17, the addition of 5 remote instruction days, and the addition of 5 full instructional days.
The updated traditional calendar presented by Mr. Anderson had a new start date of August 17, an end date of May 28, and the conclusion of high school exams before winter break. The new calendar would have a total of 1,104 instructional hours, and the flexibility to switch out regular instructional days for remote learning days to accommodate any potential weather closures.
As for Onslow Early College, Mr. Anderson shared that the school is not bound to the August 17 start date, but that their school year will start one day earlier than previously approved. They also will see an addition of 5 instructional days. He said that OCS administrators plan to stay in close contact with Coastal Carolina Community College to see how their plans for resuming in-person or online instruction in the fall will affect OECHS juniors and seniors, as their schedule consist purely of college courses.
Regarding year-round schools for the 2020-2021 school year, Mr. Anderson said that he and his colleagues recommended moving both of the district’s year-round schools, Northwoods Elementary and Clyde Erwin Elementary, to the traditional calendar. This change would only be in effect for next school year, in order to have all students on the same page and streamline procedures as students return to school buildings.
The Board unanimously approved all changes.
News from the Board -- May 5, 2020Posted by Jessica Coston on 5/6/2020 3:30:00 PM
The Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on May 5, 2020 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items for this meeting included a COVID-19 update and the approval of the FY2020-2021 Local Current Expense and Capital Outlay budgets. The Board also voted to add to the agenda an item regarding the Career & College Promise agreement OCS has with Coastal Carolina Community College.
To begin the meeting, OCS Superintendent Dr. Barry Collins gave the Board an update on the COVID-19 situation and how staff and students were handling remote work and learning. Dr. Collins shared with the Board that the district plans to operate Student Nutrition Hubs through June 30, has ordered additional cleaning and disinfecting supplies, and began what would normally be summer cleaning. He said that soon, he and his staff hope to present a plan on what reopening OCS for staff will look like, saying that staff will need to be phased back into working on site to begin preparing for next school year. When staff return, Dr. Collins said that OCS will follow all state-issued mandates regarding school environments and plans to have hand sanitizer in each classroom, use thermometers to screen employee health and provide personal protective equipment for those that need it.
In his update on remote learning, Dr. Collins said that OCS seems to be a frontrunner in the state with more than 90 percent of students participating successfully. Of those participating in remote learning, he said that 85-90 percent are using electronic devices, while the others are being provided paper packets by their teachers.
Dr. Collins also addressed the district’s plans for graduation and honoring the class of 2020. He explained the two-part plan that he and he staff came up with. Part A would be a virtual graduation that would be the formal ceremony. This part would include the reading of the names, a slideshow of student photos, and speeches from administration, valedictorians, salutatorians, class presidents and anyone who would have spoken at a traditional graduation. These parts of the ceremony would be filmed and premiere on the district YouTube page at the times traditional graduations would have taken place. Part B would be a school-based celebration that individual schools would plan and execute. Each school would have the opportunity to plan a celebration that best works for their community and give students an in-person opportunity to be recognized.
The COVID-19 update was concluded by Dr. Collins requesting that the Board consider a mid-month special meeting to discuss staff contracts, calendar changes and other agenda items needed to prepare for next school year.
Next, the Board heard a recap of the FY2020-2021 budget proposal from Dr. Collins.
The capital outlay budget covers the district’s expenses related to maintenance, transportation, paving, roofing, furniture, safety and security and more. For the last 15 years or so, the district has received about $3 million annually. With a new funding agreement with the county in place, $3.3 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Over the next 5 years, the district will see an increase of $2.5 million, eventually bringing the capital outlay budget to around $5.5 million.
The local current expense budget provides funding for salaries, insurance, academic programming, technology, cultural arts, utilities, exceptional children and more. The total proposed budget for 2020-2021 equals $65.2 million, with $900,000 coming from fines and forfeitures, $6.6 million coming from the appropriated fund balance, $1.2 million coming from disaster recovery funds, and $56.5 million coming from the county’s tax revenue. Going into the new fiscal year, the superintendent’s budget priorities will remain the same as those established last year: math, mental health, and safety and security.
The Board unanimously adopted the proposed FY2020-2021 budgets.
Last on the agenda as the added item regarding the Career & College Promise Program. Following concerns from parents and members of the community, the Board unanimously voted to reaffirm the program and the district’s partnership with CCCC. Board Chair Pam Thomas said that the goal of reaffirming the partnership was to continue to provide students with as many opportunities as possible.