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News from the Board -- April 27, 2021Posted by Jessica Wells on 4/30/2021 2:10:00 PM
On Tuesday, April 27, the Onslow County Board of Education held a workshop meeting at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center to discuss the 2021-2022 budget proposal, ESSER funding, and OCS summer school plans.
First on the agenda was a presentation from OCS Chief Operations Officer Steve Myers, who discussed the 2021-2022 Capital Outlay Budget. The capital outlay budget covers the district’s expenses related to maintenance, transportation, paving, roofing, furniture, safety and security and more. Myers began his presentation by sharing with the Board and executive staff that the average age of all OCS facilities is 38 years. He also shared that the district is responsible for maintaining 506 buildings, which is about 88 acres of heated square feet, as well as 1,586 acres of land. The district’s current assets equal $724,985,426.
Under the current funding agreement with county government, Myers said that the district would be receiving $3.7 million for next year’s capital outlay budget. That funding, along with other revenue sources, would bring the district to a total capital outlay budget of $3,812,892.
This year, Myers said the district received over $15 million worth of capital requests from schools and departments across the county. Requests were prioritized by greatest need, requirements by law, instructional and security needs, and the timeline needed. From there, the requests were filtered until there were $3.8 million worth of work to be done. Some highlights of the work to be done with next year’s capital outlay budget include paving, roofing, and site improvements.
Next, Chief Finance Officer Jeff Hollamon presented the proposed local current expense budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The local current expense budget provides funding for salaries, insurance, academic programming, technology, cultural arts, utilities, exceptional children and more. Hollamon said that the total proposed budget for 2021-2022 equals $67.5 million, with $900,000 coming from fines and forfeitures, $7.2 million coming from the appropriated fund balance, $2 million coming from disaster recovery funds, and $57.4 million coming from the county’s tax revenue. Going into the new fiscal year, the superintendent’s budget priorities of instruction, mental health, safety and security will remain the same.
To remain with budget and support budgetary priorities, Hollamon said that over $8.1 million worth of requests did not make it into the final budget. On May 4, the Board will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed budget and will vote on the budget later that day.
Following the budget discussion, the Board heard from Deputy Superintendent Dr. Beth Folger, who presented information on the district’s plans for summer school. She shared that summer school programming is required of all NC school districts, per House Bill 82. Summer programming in Onslow County, which will be called Discover 2021, will be split into two divisions: Adventures and Explorations. Adventures will meet HB82 requirements regarding learning loss for at-risk students and will consist of 5 weeks of instruction. Students will be provided with transportation, meals, and instruction in math, reading, science and more, all free of charge. Explorations will vary in subject matter and length and will provide enrichment for students who may have missed out on activities such as art, theatre, music, or other special interest topics. Explorations students will also receive meals free of charge but will need to provide their own transportation.
In order recruit staff for summer learning, the district will be providing daily pay and bonuses for teachers and classified staff who volunteer to work.
Last on the agenda was another presentation from Chief Finance Officer Jeff Hollamon, who presented to the Board information on ESSER funding. ESSER is the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which provides funding for schools as they respond to and recover from COVID-19. Some uses of the funding are mandated, such as summer school programming, and there is a requirement that at least 20 percent of all funding be used to address learning loss. Hollamon said that, beyond those items, it is up to the district how it would like to spend remaining ESSER funding, within the uses allowed by law. Staff and the Board will work together in the coming months to determine the highest priority COVID-related needs that will be addressed with ESSER funding.
News from the Board -- April 6, 2021Posted by Jessica Wells on 4/7/2021 11:30:00 AM
The Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on April 6, 2021 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items for this meeting included a presentation on the CTE program, the 2021-2022 calendar, and redistricting for Clear View Elementary School.
First on the agenda was a presentation from CTE Director Chris Bailey, who shared with the Board information about the CTE program and where it hopes to go in the future. Bailey shared that CTE’s goals include providing students with quality career training to select their right career path and providing a “Grow Your Own” workforce development pipeline for businesses and industries in Onslow County and surrounding areas.
Bailey shared a personal story about his own daughter’s experience with CTE that, given the number of career choice changes his daughter made in high school, saved him upwards of $250,000. He said that had his daughter made those same changes after starting college, it could have cost his family a lot of time and money. One of the goals of CTE, he said, it to allow students the opportunity to explore career choices before entering post-secondary education to avoid potentially costly changes to college majors and career paths.
There are currently more than 9,800 students enrolled in CTE classes in Onslow County. Those students earned a total of 5,107 career credentials in the 2019-2020 school year alone. To grow those numbers, Bailey said the CTE program hopes to up recruitment through marketing and program expansions. Robotics and HVAC programs will be introduced in Fall 2021, and advanced manufacturing, mechatronics, and heavy equipment operations will hopefully be added in the near future.
Next to the podium was OCS Chief Communications Officer Brent Anderson, who requested that the Board approve the proposed 2021-2022 school calendar. Anderson said that the calendar proposal was shared with the Board, school administrators, and staff prior to the request to approve. He also shared that the decision has been made to delay the approval of a 2022-2023 calendar, pending potential legislative changes that would affect calendar flexibility. The Board unanimously approved the 2021-2022 calendar draft as it was presented.
In the meeting’s last order of business, OCS Chief Operations Officer Steve Myers took to the podium to present the final proposal for redistricting for Clear View Elementary School. Myers shared that staff had reached out to the community in a variety of ways over the last few weeks to collect feedback on redistricting plans. Staff made phone calls, sent emails, received emails, held community meetings, etc.
Given the feedback received from the community, Myers suggested two changes to the previously recommended redistricting plan. He recommended grandfathering in those who will be in 5th grade in the 2022-2023 school year, when CVES opens. This would allow those students to stay at their current schools to finish elementary school. He also suggested moving the 15 students on Farmington Drive back to the Heritage Elementary district, after discovering that that area is closer to HES and would experience shorter transportation times going to HES. The Board unanimously approved the redistricting plans, including the recommended changes.
Dr. Barry Collins, OCS superintendent, finished the meeting with his comments, saying he is excited to finally have all students back in our buildings at one time. He encouraged everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and thanked staff for the work they have done over the past year and continue to do to keep our schools open and running smoothly.