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News from the Board -- January 8, 2019

In its January 8, 2019 regular meeting, the Onslow County Board of Education discussed and acted on a policy regarding electronically stored information, the beginning teacher support program, a resolution supporting calendar flexibility and an architect agreement for hurricane recovery.  

At the December 2018 Board meeting, OCS Chief Technology Officer Jeff Pittman presented to the Board a proposed change that would require the school system to maintain email records for a reduced time of three years. Mr. Pittman said that this change to policy 5071/7351 would alleviate the storage shortage the district is facing, as OCS is currently storing more than 80 million emails. At the December BOE meeting, Board Member Jeff Hudson expressed concerns about the emails of he and his fellow Board members being deleted after 3 years when they serve 4-year terms. In Tuesday’s meeting, after Mr. Pittman presented the policy again, this time asking for approval from the Board, Mr. Hudson said that staff had explained to him how they can work with the Board to maintain those records even with the proposed policy in place. The Board unanimously approved policy 5071/7351 as presented.  

Following the policy change, Dr. CJ Korenek presented to the Board proposed changes to the Beginning Teacher Support Program Plan, which implements support and mentoring services for beginning teachers in the district. Dr. Korenek explained to the Board that the program has become increasingly effective and successful over the years and that the proposed changes would be minor in order to align district practices with new State Board of Education policy. The Board unanimously approved the changes.  

Executive Director of Community Affairs Brent Anderson read to the Board a proposed resolution from the school district asking the General Assembly to return calendar flexibility to individual school districts across the state. The resolution touched on issues such as how current statewide calendar restrictions create a stressful post-winter break exam schedule for high school students, require students taking AP courses to take exams after less instruction time than students in other states and make scheduling make-up days in the event of severe weather or unforeseen circumstances much more difficult. Board Chair Pam Thomas and Board members Earl Taylor, Paul Wiggins and Jeff Hudson agreed that calendar flexibility would be an important power for the district to have in deciding what is best for students in Onslow County. The Board unanimously approved the resolution to be sent to the state.  

In its last order of business, the Board heard from Chief of Operations Steve Myers regarding the architect selection for hurricane repairs. In last month’s meeting, the Board unanimously approved Smith Sinnett Architects as the architect of choice with the understanding that the fee schedule for the services would later be presented for approval. Mr. Myers said that staff have been negotiating with the firm to determine reasonable fees based on a time and material basis for the assessment of damages for several schools. The fees and an initial agreement were presented to the Board, which they unanimously approved.