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School Matters - January 2020 Board of Education News

School Board Appreciation Month
School Board Appreciation Month
School board members were recognized during the board of education meeting for School Board Appreciation Month. Schools and district administration presented cards, gifts, and goodies to the board members as a thank you for their service to Alexander County Schools.
“I have the pleasure of working closely with the school board members as decisions are made that make our individual schools and entire system better,” stated Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner. “Our school board is one of the 115 such boards across the state. With the advice and counsel of the educational professionals they hire, our school board has an impact on virtually every aspect of our schools. This is a huge responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. Our Board of Education represents every student, every staff member, and every community within Alexander County. They take this responsibility seriously by attending meetings and conferences where they broaden their knowledge about education.”

Each of the following board members was recognized.
• Brigette Rhyne, Chairman
• Harry Schrum, Vice Chairman
• Scott Bowman
• Matt Cooksey
• David Odom
• Cindy Sellers

Caryn Brzykcy was also recognized but was unable to attend the meeting.

Tiffany Stine Completes Comprehensive Training
Tiffany Stine, school bookkeeper at Alexander Central High School, was recognized for completion of the North Carolina Association of School Business Officials’ (NCASBO) School Treasurer’s Academy. The academy is a continuation of the NCASBO Business Management Academy and includes sessions such as School Finance Law, Internal Controls, General Accounting Concepts, and many more topics important to school bookkeeping.
It is an accomplishment to successfully complete this training and shows Tiffany’s dedication to her profession.

Hiddenite Elementary School Update
Hiddenite Elementary School Principal Charles Draper began the presentation by sharing the celebrations the school has been able to experience this school year. Hiddenite was indicated as a low performing school at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, but beginning the 2019-2020 school year, they no longer classified as low performing. The school met overall growth at 84.7 percent, met growth in reading, and exceeded growth in Math.

Mr. Draper and the school leadership team began the school year identifying the big rocks or goals for the 2019-2020 school year as to be intentional, explicit, and to build relationships. School staff has focused on being intentional with everything that they do. They strive to be explicit in how they teach the curriculum and standards. At the core of it all the focus is to build relationships with students.

To see the presentation, tune in at 16:51(min:sec) on YouTube

Head Start Five-Year Refunding Application and Goals
Head Start Director Macy Jones presented the five-year refunding application plan and budget to the board for suggestions and input before submission to the regional office in Atlanta March 31, 2020.

The five-year plan was developed based on employee survey questions and policy council member input. Ms. Jones requested any suggestions or questions to be presented before the February meeting to allow time to update the plan for its approval in February. Once the school board approves the plan and budget it will be submitted to the regional office.

To see the presentation, tune in at 30:00 (min:sec) on YouTube

ACS Transportation Department Update
Transportation Director John McCurdy presented cost estimations and savings to the board along with a recap of the bus consolidation and plans for the department.
 Highlights of the presentation included fuel savings of 110 gallons per day for the 2019-2020 school year based on the savings from August through December. This figure does not include labor cost savings. Additional savings include cost of tires, parts, driver salaries, cameras, and Synovia.

In August school started back with a consolidated bus plan. The plan has been updated based on needs and requests from the schools. In the beginning all buses were parked at the middle schools. The change was made to park some buses at the elementary schools during the day. The transportation department will continue to work with the schools to fine tune the process.
Bus monitors were used in the afternoons at the beginning of the year as drivers and students acclimated to the new routes and consolidation. Monitors will be used on buses as needed going forward.

Cameras are on all regular route buses. Extended stop arms are on 10 buses. Stop arms were paid for by the NC Department of Instruction.

Mr. McCurdy reported the overall operations are more efficient with less buses to maintain.

To see the presentation, tune in at 39:18 (min:sec) on YouTube

Superintendent’s Report
Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner announced upcoming meeting dates.
• A school board work session is scheduled Thursday, Jan. 16 to discuss the Sugar Loaf facility needs
• The budget committee will meet Monday, Jan. 27
• Taylorsville School visit will be held Tuesday, Jan. 28
• A facilities presentation to the board of commissioners is scheduled Monday, Feb. 3

Dr. Hefner shared a document outlining facility needs and projected costs based on estimates obtained by School Maintenance Director Chris Campbell.

Dr. Hefner also reminded board members that students and staff will be on holiday Monday, Jan. 20 and Tuesday, Jan. 21 is an optional workday for staff.

The North Carolina School Boards Association has webinars available for school administrators and board members to view during January through April. One webinar will be available each month on a set date for viewing.

National board recipients and those renewing will be recognized at the February board meeting. A reception will be held prior to the meeting.

To see the presentation, tune in at 51:27 (min:sec) on YouTube

School Board Policy Revisions Approved
Two school board policies were approved:
• Policy No. 1310/4002 – Parental Involvement (English and Spanish)
• Policy No. 7430 – Substitute Teachers

Four policy revisions were presented for the first reading and will be presented again next month for a second reading.
• Policy No. 4240/7312 - Child Abuse and Related Threats to Child Safety Reports and Investigation
• Policy No. 5210 - Distribution and Display of Non-School Material
• Policy No. 5220 - Collections and Solicitations
• Policy No. 8220 - Gifts and Bequests

A new policy was presented for a first reading.
• Policy No. 7360/8225 - Crowdfunding on Behalf of the School System

All Alexander County Board Policies are available for review by the public at or the Alexander County Board of Education Office on Liledoun Road, Taylorsville, North Carolina.

To see the presentation, tune in at 1:00:40 (hr:min:sec) on YouTube

School Board approved Per Diem Rate
School board members voted five to one in favor of a per diem rate for all board members of $650 per month. Special called meetings, all-day conferences, or trainings will be $40, and committee meetings or events within Alexander County will be $20. Additionally, board members may submit for mileage and meals as stated in NCGS 115C-38.

Funding options for board members’ compensation are Fund II and Fund VIII, neither of which are funding sources for teachers.

To see the presentation, tune in at 1:04:30 (hr:min:sec) on YouTube