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home : news : news March 4, 2021

2/5/2021 11:49:00 PM
School Board Meets With Legislators
NC Rep. Jason Saine & Senator Ted Alexander
NC Rep. Jason Saine & Senator Ted Alexander

Wayne Howard

The Lincoln County Board of Education held a Friday morning breakfast meeting with North Carolina state representative Jason Saine and state senator Ted Alexander.  

The School Board made their pitch for seven key items for which they want help from the North Carolina General Assembly:

1. Fndingfor continued needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for helping students with social and emotional problems related to the change in their lifestyle.

2. Additional flexible funding to address mental health needs.

3. Increased pay for all school personnel.  The schools made their case that while there has been some improvement in pay for teachers, they are having problems keeping other personnel who can move to other jobs making more money.

4.Refinements in the state's A-F school performance review, the so-called 'schools report card.'  Lincoln County has only one school that was rated a 'D.'  Battleground School principal Tracy Eley said the public perception caused by that report is that hers is a bad school.  "It's based largely on a single test taking three hours in one day," she said.  "That test rates students' proficiency.  It doesn't take into account things like whether a student isn't feeling well that day or may be experiencing other problems.  It also doesn't measure fairly--because our growth, students' proficiency compared to where they were at the beginning of the year, is very good.  We have more diversity than any other school including many underprivileged students, yet our teachers make the same pay as the teachers at schools like Rock Springs, which got an 'A.' "  Eley said changing from a once a year testing for the report card to nine-week periods on which the schools grade students would be helpful.  "Our teachers are doing a great job!  We're not only improving the lives of students; by getting them excited and involved, we're often improving the outlook for whole families."  

5. More state funding for school construction.  The Lincoln County Schools recently prepared and reported to County Commissioners their five-year construction and renovation plans which will require at least three million dollars in funding.  Following the meeting, Rep. Saine told us that he hopes to revive a proposal NC House speaker Tim Moore of Shelby pushed last year for a bond issue for school construction.  It got approval in the House but died in the NC Senate.

6. Increasing state funding for targeted programs for academically and intellectually gifted students, students for whom English is a second language, challenged children, and for technology and transportation.

7. Provide opportunity for specialty vocational education instructors.  Many of the vocational programs that schools like to offer because they can lead to jobs are hindered because instructors need certain credentials to be used as teachers.  "You don't need a four-year degree to teach auto mechanics or firefighting," board member Tony Jenkins said.  "Removal of certification requirements for some of these specialty vocational programs would be a big help."

In addition to the School Board, County Commissioners Bud Cesena and Cathy Davis, a former School Board chair, and County Manager Kelly Atkins attended the meeting.

[Lincoln Herald notation:  while they took their masks off to speak so they could be heard, everyone wore a mask to the meeting and temperatures were checked on entry to the building.]

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2021
Article comment by: Kati Hobson

Good article. Valid points. My suggestions to legislators, if ya'll don't something about the traffic first no one is ever going to be able to get to school. So many areas where 7-8a and 3-4p is a dangerous time to travel. What's the plan?

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