August 8th School Matters
August 8th, 2023
The Alexander County Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting for August on the 8th. Listed below are the reports and actions from the meeting.
Community Eligibility Provision
Child Nutrition Director Kathy Caudle updated the board on the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) the district has been awarded by the federal government. The designation means all students can receive free school breakfast and lunch for the 2023-2024 year. The status is granted to counties deemed as low-wealth areas. The schools and districts that have more than 40% of students identified for free meals can be designated a CEP district. Caudle says the county can retain the status if enough students participate by eating breakfast and lunch at school. The new program means the district will not receive applications for free and reduced lunch benefits.
Dr. Betsy Curry delivered the superintendent's report on behalf of Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner. Curry spoke of the state recognition received last week for kindergarten scores on state tests. Alexander County kindergarteners came in with 65% scoring well below the benchmark. By the end of the school year, 80% of ACS kindergartners were at or above grade level, and only nine percent were still considered well below. The numbers were also positive in first and second grade. Third grade scores also had positive movement but not as much as the younger grades.
Curry also notified the board that the state has passed a measure for state employees to receive eight weeks of parental leave. North Carolina has set aside $10 million dollars to help pay for substitute teachers who take parental leave. Curry reported that district leaders across the state still have lots of questions such as how to support schools with other employees’ absences when the staff member would not require substitutes. Paid parental leave has been available for some workers in state offices, but the leave is new for teachers.
Curry also reported to the board that the state has not passed a budget meaning school systems must operate based on last year’s funding. The state house speaker said earlier this week that the General Assembly is not likely to pass a budget till after Labor Day. The budget was due in July.
Curry also presented that 958 Alexander County School students participated in summer opportunities including Read to Achieve, credit recovery, middle school and high school Career Academies, elementary and middle school Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) camps, and sports camps.
School board policies
The board considered the following policy revision presented by Chief Financial Officer Ms. Sharon Mehaffey for first reading. These will be brought back to the board next month.
Policy No. 6125 - Administering Medicines to Students
Policy No. 6140 - Student Wellness
Policy No. 6220 - Operation of School Nutrition Services
Policy No. 7130 - Licensure
The board unanimously approved revisions to the attendance policy 4400 to allow students who are absent a bit more time to turn in excuse notes.
Alexander County Board Policies are available for review by the public at www.alexander.k12.nc.us or by appointment at the Alexander County Board of Education Office on Liledoun Road, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
Board members Matt Reese and Anthony McLain were not present at the meeting.