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News from the Board -- January 15, 2020Posted by Jessica Coston on 1/15/2020 12:00:00 PM
On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Onslow County Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss proposed the proposed funding formula for FY 2020-2021.
This budget meeting came after months of discussion, planning and collaboration between the Board of Education and the Onslow County Board of Commissioners, as well as OCS and county staff. After the dissolution of the funding formula that previously determined local funding for the school system in 2018, the two boards and their staffs worked diligently to find a solution that would allow both parties to have a predictable, sustainable way to plan for school funding. The Board of Commissioners approved the formula at their budget meeting on January 13.
The new funding formula would be revenue-based and would allot 36.1 percent of Onslow County’s tax revenue to the Onslow County Schools local current expense budget, which covers some salaries, academic programs, supplies and other expenses to keep the district running. Built into the formula is a contingency plan in the event of significant growth of the student population. If OCS were to grow by more than 375 students over the prior year, the district’s funding from the county tax base would increase by half a percent. Likewise, if the district’s enrollment were to drop by more than 375 students in a year, the funding would decrease by half a percent.
In addition to the formula for the local current expense budget, the Board and staff discussed the new proposed plan for providing for the district’s capital outlay funding needs. In years past, the local funding for capital needs, such as maintenance and improvements, was a flat $3 million each year. The BOE and district staff expressed a desire for increased funding for this area because of the increasing costs of maintenance and improvement projects. The new plan would increase annual capital outlay funding incrementally over the next few years and reach $5.5 million for the 2024-2025 school year.
After a brief discussion, the Board unanimously approved the new funding formulas, saying that the new plan was the result of diligent collaboration between the school system and county government. Board members and staff agreed that the passage of this new formula is a step in the right direction and will ultimately benefit the children of Onslow County.
News from the Board -- January 7, 2020Posted by Jessica Coston on 1/8/2020 4:00:00 PM
The Onslow County Board of Education held its first regular monthly meeting of 2020 on Tuesday, January 7 at their new meeting location, the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. The meeting’s agenda items included a presentation that focused on the Community Affairs department and the work they do, as well as consideration of the transfer of BOE property to Onslow County Government.
Following a Good News Spotlight presentation full of recognitions for staff and students, OCS Chief Communications Officer Brent Anderson took to the podium to present to the Board information about the Community Affairs department and the role it plays in serving our schools.
Mr. Anderson shared with the Board the four main responsibilities the department takes on: fielding media queries, promoting events, dispersing information to the media, and publicizing the achievements of students and staff. Those responsibilities are fulfilled through many avenues, he said, including planning events such as the BASES and retirement receptions, arranging media interviews with staff and students, sending out media alerts regarding district happenings, coordinating Employee Appreciation Week, and publishing articles and visual media about the great things happening in our schools.
In addition to the four main responsibilities of the department, Community Affairs also represents OCS on various community boards and organizations; coordinates with community agencies such as United Way, JOEMC, and rotary clubs; fields public records requests; produces videography, photography and graphic design for the district; develops the school calendar; and assists principals and district leaders in producing consistent messaging across the county. Mr. Anderson said his department’s most important role, however, is providing support for other OCS departments in any way they can. He said they are here to serve.
Mr. Anderson and the members of his department are all members of local, state and national organizations dedicated to growing and improving the school public relations profession. One of those organizations, the North Carolina School Public Relations Association, give awards annually in categories that include excellence in writing, digital media engagement, electronic media, image/graphic design, marketing, photography, and more. Last year, OCS Community Affairs received five gold awards in the areas of digital media engagement, electronic media, excellence in writing, photography and publications. The department also received two silver awards for electronic media and excellence in writing.
In closing, Mr. Anderson shared with the Board his department’s plans to organize a new lunch-and-learn series all about OCS. This series would consist of five or six sessions and would invite in members of the community to get a more in-depth look at what their school system does and how it supports children and families across the county. Sessions would focus on topics such as how the BOE and district departments support the system’s goals and objectives, elementary education, middle education, high school education, and teacher support. This initiative is expected to begin in mid-to-late-March.
Next on the agenda, was an item from OCS Chief of Operations Steve Myer, who asked the Board to consider a motion to approve the transfer of the land to be used for the new west central elementary school from the Board of Education to the Onslow County Government for the purposes to initiating the building and leasing process for the new school. The Board unanimously approved.