Funding coming for ACHS ballfield, weight room; stadium upgrade is likely
By MICAH HENRY
The Alexander County Board of Education gathered on Tuesday, July 11, for a short meeting to hear updates on parent involvement, student testing, and for approval of board policy revisions.
Associate Superintendent Dr. Betsy Curry sat in for Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner, who was not present. Also absent were board members Brigette Rhyne, Josh Dagenhart, and Anthony McLain.
The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. Flag led by member Scott Bowman.
Dr. Curry said that principals are working to identify a representative Parent Advisory Group during the month of July. After the Labor Day holiday but during the month of September, the board will hold a Community Town Hall meeting at Alexander Central Auditorium, where it will be recorded to facilitate transparency. This meeting will include a State of the Budget overview by Vice Chairman Rob Arguelles. There will opportunity for public comment. There will be a sign-up sheet for comments. Those wishing to speak will write down their name and phone number. Those with suggestions for balancing the budget may be asked to serve on an additional work team later in September.
Parental involvement groups will also be convened at a later date. The meeting date, time, and location is to be determined by a Google poll sent out to each parent representative by Dr. Denita Dowell-Reavis. Also at this meeting, administrators will do a State of the Budget overview for parents. Priorities will be discussed, possible areas to save funds will be shared, and each group will be asked to come up with some solutions or additional ideas for balancing the budget. These teams will be facilitated by the principals, with assistance from Board of Education members and Central Office to answer questions. Each small group will report to the whole group at the end of the session.
The aforementioned process will be repeated with each School Improvement Team to gain additional parent and staff input. The input on proposed cuts and additional ideas will be shared by the Secretary of the School Improvement Team with the Superintendent and Associate Superintendent, Curry stated.
Dr. Dowell-Reavis and Amy Daigle will compile data from each workgroup session and present prioritized themes to Dr. Hefner, Dr. Curry, the school board chair, and vice chair.
Members unanimously passed (4-0) two budget amendments as part of the consent agenda. Budget Amendment 16 adds a School Nutrition equipment grant to the budget and adjusts the ESSER budgets for the unrestricted indirect cost rate, a total increase of $75,692.
Budget Amendment 17 appropriates $326,000 fund balance to the budget, applied to line items for: Transfer to Charter Schools, $15,000; Local Supplements, $11,000; Non-Instructional Support Personnel, $115,000; Instructional Support Personnel, $160,000; and At Risk Student Services, $25,000.
Andrea Robinette, Director of Testing, Accountability, and Federal Programs, presented a report to the board regarding testing irregularities. Robinette said there were four irregularities noted:
• A student refused accommodations for their English II End Of Course (EOC) test. The mother was notified by phone and agreed that the student did not want any accommodations.
• A student was not given the proper accommodations on the ACT test. She was retested at a later date with the accommodations.
• One student was not able to stay awake for ACT testing. It was determined that he was under the influence of a controlled substance.
• A student became ill during the End Of Grade science test. She was retested on a later date.
The board approved the following policy revisions unanimously (4-0) as presented by Jessica Anderson, Executive Director of Exceptional Children and Student Services: 3225/4312/7320 – Technology Responsible Use; 4110 – Immunization and Health Requirements for School Admission; 4155 – Assignment to Classes; 4220 – Student Insurance Program; 4240/7312 – Child Abuse and Related Threats to Child Safety; 4300 – Student Behavior Policies; 4310 – Integrity and Civility; 4400 – Attendance; 4700 – Student Records.
Although there were no committee reports, Vice Chairman Rob Arguelles noted that positive news was heard from a recent meeting with State Senator Eddie Settle. The senator reported that the school system will receive $100,000 to use for facilities updates at the Alexander Central High School ballfield and weight room. Settle said that, pending legislature approval, $2.5 million will be distributed to Alexander County Schools to bring the football field into ADA compliance.
Chairman Ramie Robinson then transitioned the meeting into closed session.