Dare school board hears presentations, takes action

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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In the 2023-24 school year, the first Dare County students to enroll in Dual Language Immersion will transition to middle school.

Parents and at least one student are concerned about losing the program.

At the start of the Feb. 13, 2022 regular board meeting for the Dare County Board of Education, Jake Henry with Participate Learning presented information about the language program and a possible elective course rather than a core course taught only in Spanish.

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Scheduling in high school, said Henry, is easier.

Proficiency levels are established by the state. Assessments come at the end of the eighth grade.

Dare Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight read from a letter he sent to parents of students in the Dual Language Immersion program.

In that letter, he said the system had no plans to do away with the program.

Middle grade students who opt to remain in the program will meet every day, yearlong. Two of the three middle schools already have an elective period to accommodate the class. To create the schedule space in the third school, 12 minutes have been pulled from other classes to recreate an additional elective class period.

So, middle school students can elect to take the dual language program and take the required physical education class.

The classes will use curriculum from Participate Learning, which will be taught by native Spanish-speaking teachers in the classroom.

During public comment, Lea Dixon, Jessica Fearns and third grader Molly Goldberg all spoke in support of the Dual Language Immersion program. Fearns lobbied for one core course to be taught in Spanish. Goldberg spoke in both Spanish and English to have the program continued.

Also during public comment, Wendy Simpson voiced concern about parents in classrooms and the school improvement team at Kitty Hawk Elementary.

Several presentations marked this board meeting.

From College of The Albemarle came college president Jack Bagwell and Dare County campus dean Tim Sweeney.

Bagwell reminded the board that 56 community colleges exist in North Carolina; that College of The Albemarle has four campuses, Dare, Barco, Elizabeth City and Edenton.

Sweeney said the Dare Campus is growing with new programs. The Dare Campus now has career and technical education (CTE) courses including electric, plumbing, HVAC at the Dare campus. Marine diesel engine repair is offered in Manns Harbor.

Sweeney also reminded the Dare County Board of Education about the Dare Guarantee Scholarship, created and funded by the county’s Board of Commissioners. Sweeney did point out that the required family financial report created a delay. For a workforce development program, the application is a page long for the Dare Guarantee Scholarship.

The college duo is promoting proposed legislation to add a diploma track with a vocational focus for high school students. Such a track would allow students to choose a CTE pathway to a diploma and employment.

Specifically, North Carolina’s math requirements for all students would require the current four math courses, but eliminate the requirement for Math 3, where many students struggle. Students would be required to take Math 1 (algebra I) and Math 2 (geometry) and two additional math courses such as a CTE-related math course.

Should legislation requiring Math 3 remain, the proposal suggests the State Board of Education should consider changing the percentage from 95% to 80% of students in the district who must pass Math 3 for proficiency.

The proposal also asks for the elimination of the penalty for students who are exempt from future-ready core, the only track now available. “This is a barrier for students who wish to take a CTE pathway,” stated the presentation slide.

The Currituck County Board of Commissioners recently adopted a resolution to send to the General Assembly to reinstate the second diploma pathway. Eight years ago, the state did away with the pathway now advocated.

The Dare County school board continues to investigate Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps or JROTC.

Lt. Col. Warner White provided information at the Feb. 13 meeting.

The program requires the local school board to pay half the salaries of one officer and one enlisted person and provide a classroom and 400 square feet of storage space. The program would be offered at First Flight High School. The estimated cost is $60,000 to $65,000.

In the consent agenda, the board approved the following budget amendments:

– State Public School Fund: Appropriate funds to reflect additional allotments, adjust allotments to reflect reductions associated with lower than projected ADM and correct BA#6 approved in December to reflect a federal allotment which mistakenly was posted as a state allotment. $91,253.

– Local Current Expense Fund: Appropriate additional funds from Dare County to reflect adjustments to the per pupil funding formula as a result of higher than anticipated state salary increases and associated benefits. $199,775.

– Other Local Current Expense Fund: Appropriate funds from fund balance for second deposit for Tango Flight project. $80,962.

– Federal Fund: Appropriate funds as necessary to correct BA#6 which was approved in December as a state funded program, but is a federal allotment. $23,145.

– Capital Outlay: Appropriate balance of Capital Improvement Project funds, as provided by Dare County, for projects in process or still outstanding and appropriate additional funds from fund balance to complete the Manteo Middle School sound system project (approved in December, 2022). $1,535,572.

Dare school board approved a new child nutrition vendor. To provide fresh produce, the vendor is Sysco.

“School Nutrition issued bid requests for various categories of products and services. Under the umbrella of the North Carolina Child Nutrition Procurement Alliance and regional subgroup, North Eastern North Carolina Co-Op (NENC Co-Op),” the Dare County Schools School Nutrition Department recommended Sysco.

The board approved a memorandum of understanding between the County of Dare, Dare County Board of Education and Outer Banks Babe Ruth Baseball for use of Kitty Hawk Elementary School baseball fields. Dare County commissioners approved the memorandum Feb. 6.

The board granted approval for the use of Manteo High School baseball field to the Outer Banks Daredevils for collegiate baseball games this summer. The lease runs from June 1 through July 31. The contract calls for payment of $13,175 for the use of the facility.

At the end of a closed door session, the Dare County School Board issued the following statement regarding a Due Process Action, titled “G.L. by and through his parents L.L. and J.L. v. Dare County Board of Education:

“On September 20, 2022 a petition for a contested case hearing was filed in the Office of Administrative Hearings on behalf of Dare County Schools’ student “G.L.” by his mother (“L.L.”) and his father (“J.L”). On Monday, January 10, 2023, the Dare County Board of Education approved a settlement agreement in this matter that was fully executed on January 11, 2023. The anticipated cost of the settlement agreement is approximately $11,000, including attorney’s fees and costs related to evaluations for the student.”