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News from the Board -- February 26, 2020Posted by Jessica Coston on 2/27/2020 9:45:00 AM
On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, the Onslow County Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss personnel and school board attorney contracts, the naming of the Southern Elementary School Project, redistricting in the Dixon area, and NCSBA Legislative Committee Service.
The meeting began with the Board and Superintendent Dr. Barry Collins going into closed session to discuss personnel contracts. When the Board returned to open session, Board members unanimously approved contract extensions for Dr. Collins and his six executive staff members: Deputy Superintendent Dr. Beth Folger, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Hollamon, Chief Communications Officer Brent Anderson, Chief of HR and Student Services Dr. CJ Korenek, Chief of Operations Steve Myers and Chief of Technology Jeff Pittman. All of their contracts, which previously expired on June 30, 2022, will now expire on February 29, 2024. The Board also unanimously approved the extension of School Board Attorney Alex Erwin’s contract until February 29, 2024.
Next, the Board heard from Mr. Myers, who presented the community feedback on the naming of the Southern Elementary School Project. He shared that, over the past several weeks, OCS staff collected feedback from the community on the top five name choices: Coastal Elementary, Folkstone Elementary, Southern Elementary, Stump Sound Elementary, and Holly Ridge Elementary. After community feedback was collected and vetted to ensure accuracy, Coastal Elementary and Holly Ridge Elementary were determined to be the top two choices.
Board members and OCS staff discussed the importance of giving the school a name that would reflect and honor the community’s culture and heritage. Other potential names for the school included the names of some of the communities and municipalities local to that area. However, Board members and staff emphasized the need to choose a name inclusive of the many communities the school will serve, including Holly Ridge, Folkstone, Turkey Creek and more.
In their recommendation to the Board, staff wrote, “The name of Coastal Elementary School encompasses the coastal environment and heritage that is part of all the communities in the Stump Sound Township.”
The Board unanimously voted to make Coastal Elementary School the official name of the new school coming to the southern part of the county.
Next on the agenda was the discussion of the redistricting process that will accompany the opening of Coastal Elementary School. Ahead of Mr. Myers’ presentation, the Board decided to table a decision on redistricting to the March 10 BOE meeting to allow plenty of time for additional community feedback.
Mr. Myers presented three redistricting options to the Board that staff had prepared and believed to be feasible. In all three scenarios presented, the existing Dixon Elementary district would be split into two districts. The delineation between Dixon Elementary and Coastal Elementary is Hwy 210 until it reaches the bridge going to North Topsail Beach. Students from North Topsail Beach will be served by Coastal Elementary School. In scenario one, as part of the districted for Coastal Elementary, there would be 5 students from Southwest Elementary School re-assigned. In scenario two, the 5 students from scenario one and an additional 13 students from Southwest Elementary would attend the new school. In scenario three, the 18 students from scenario two and an additional 51 students from Meadow View Elementary would be reassigned to the new school.
After hearing the options and discussing each options pros and cons, the Board discussed the possibility of simply dividing the Dixon Elementary School district in two and waiting to redistrict families from Southwest and Meadow View elementary schools until the new school in the Catherine Lake area is opened in 2022.
Last on the agenda was the consideration of nominating a member of the Onslow County Board of Education to serve on the North Carolina School Board Association’s Legislative Committee. The Board nominated Paul Wiggins, who has already served on the committee, to serve again.
News from the Board -- February 4, 2020Posted by Jessica Coston on 2/6/2020 3:00:00 PM
The Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 4 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. The meeting’s agenda items included a census presentation, a proposed change to policy 4240, a construction update, an instructional focus item on early literacy, and a resolution from the finance department.
Following a Good News Spotlight presentation full of recognitions for staff and students, OCS Chief Communications Officer Brent Anderson opened the meeting’s general business with a presentation on the upcoming census and how it could affect our community.
Mr. Anderson gave a “Census 101” presentation that outlined the basics of why the 2020 census is important and why citizens should care about it. He shared with the audience that not only does completing the census fulfill our civic duty, but it also can help our community get much need funding and legislative representation, as well as provide essential data for community leaders to use in planning for recreation centers, clinics, and more. It is estimated that Onslow County had at least 22,000 people who were not counted in the 2010 census, resulting in the county missing out on $402 million in federal and state funding over the last decade.
Census forms will be delivered to residents in March, and can be filled out on paper, online, or by phone.
Next on the agenda was the proposed update to Policy 4240 regarding child abuse reports and investigations. Dr. Brendan Gartner, OCS Executive Director of Student Services, presented the changes, saying they are a result of legislation that was approved by the NC General Assembly after the update approved by the Board in October of 2019.
Senate Bill 199 included updates to several statutes that are addressed by this policy. General Statute now requires certain instances of child maltreatment must be reported to law enforcement as well as social services. This update to legislation addressed the individual requirement for any persons to report child maltreatment. As such, the policy has been updated to reflect the obligations of contractors and volunteers that may be on our campuses to report suspected child maltreatment. Section B of this policy has been added to reflect the statutory reporting requirement if a person suspects a child’s death may be the result of abuse or neglect. Section C expands on the existing reporting requirements for reporting suspected maltreatment when the child is attending a pre-school or other child-care facility operated by the district. Section E has been added to reflect the newly passed statutory requirement that schools provide child sex abuse and sex trafficking education to specific personnel. The district has identified an appropriate training. Additionally, formatting of the policy was revised to more closely reflect the formatting recommended by the NCSBA.
The Board unanimously approved the changes.
OCS Chief Operations Officer Steve Myers, along with Pinnacle Architecture’s Randy Baker, presented to the Board an update on the construction happening at the Southern Elementary School Project. So far, according to Mr. Baker, the access road for the site and site grading are largely finished and will be fully complete soon. He said that crews are currently working on utility and drainage systems for the coming facility both on and off site, as well as building pads where the school’s buildings will be later constructed. As of February 2020, the project is still on schedule and within budget.
After Mr. Baker’s presentation, Mr. Myers briefly spoke to the Board and the audience about the upcoming redistricting and school naming process. He said that district staff plans to ask for community input on the name of the new school in the Stump Sound area, and that they plan to give families plenty of time to see the recommended redistricting lines before they go into effect. He also shared that the district was recently informed that the county government has met with the Local Government Commission and received approval to pursue a loan to begin construction on the new school in the Catherine Lake area.
If you have comments, questions or concerns regarding the new school project in the Stump Sound area, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next, Dr. Mark Bulris, OCS executive director of elementary education, presented to the Board an instructional focus item on early literacy. Dr. Bulris shared that with the current state of the Read to Achieve program and the reading curriculum at the state level, the early literacy curriculum is in a transitional phase locally. During this time of uncertainty and transition, Dr. Bulris said that instructional staff is working on defining Onslow County School’s core beliefs, guiding principles, curriculum, structure, etc. as it relates to early literacy.
Last on the agenda was the presentation of a resolution urging the state to take action to remit civil penalties unconstitutionally withheld from North Carolina’s public schools. In 2008, the NC Superior Court ruled that state agencies were in clear violation of the State Constitution by improperly withholding $747,883,074 that should have been paid to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund from January 1996 through June 2005. Since 2008, the public schools have received only $18.1 million, approximately 2.5% of the total amount owed. The resolution stated that the Onslow Board of Education respectfully requests the General Assembly approve, during its 2020 legislative session, a multiyear plan to pay the remaining $729.7 million judgment for civil penalties that should have gone to public school units for school technology but were diverted to other purposes in violation of the North Carolina Constitution. The Board unanimously voted to submit the resolution.