Dare school board’s new student advisors take oath of office

Published 1:11 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

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New student advisors and alternates to the Dare County Board of Education took the oath of office for the school term 2024-25 in the board’s June 10 meeting.

Taking the oath as advisors are Elizabeth Fairbanks, Cape Hatteras Secondary; Emerson Mann, First Flight High; and Tobias Fleckenstein, Manteo High.

Taking the oath as alternates are Caroline Fuller, Cape Hatteras Secondary; Schuyler Wilson, First Flight High; and Spencer Twiford, Manteo High.

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After the agenda was quickly approved, the agenda item “Review of Early College Development Timeline” was presented. Dare County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight said he had gone over the timeline at the special meeting June 5 and asked if members of the school board had any questions. No comments or questions from the board were made.

The timeline starts in 2015 and goes forward through board and public meetings about the proposal for a Dare County early college. The timeline responds to public comments about not knowing anything about the early college proposal.

Two members of the public had questions and opinions about early college voice during public comments.

Marie White has two grandchildren in Dare elementary schools. She asked, “Why is an early college the board’s top priority instead of building needs in Dare County schools?” She requested the board to “move early college to the 2028 budget … and make current school building needs your No. 1 priority.”

Judy Cage, a Manteo High School parent, suggested an anonymous survey be distributed following the to-be-announced public meeting on the early college. She asked for written, objective criteria for admission qualifications. She wanted to know which programs will receive preference – ESL, AVID for example. She wanted the bus schedule. She asked about a public lottery. She wanted to know which staffer gets the final decision on acceptance.

George Lurie, the lay leader of the Jewish Community of the Outer Banks, thanked the board and faculty members for welcoming presentations on Judaism and Holocaust and a class at First Flight Middle school for participating in an essay contest.

Katie Morgan thanked the board for pausing the early college process. She also brought attention to the First Flight Middle School air quality testing. The report called for further testing and moisture levels to be taken.

Under announcements, Basnight reported on the initial air quality test results. At First Flight Middle School, 10 samples showed “a fungal amplification or altered indoor environment” on the test day. “It is therefore recommended that further sampling be conducted along with a visual inspection and moisture measurements in an attempt to identify the source,” says the report.

Basnight described the elevated readings as from “wood deterioration.”

The readings were not in the HVAC system.

The remedy was to remove wooden items such as blocks to hold open windows, limit potted plants with mulch, keep windows closed and remove old storage items.

On retest, outside air quality showed total spores/m3 5547 and inside the school, the count at the 20 testing locations varied from 200 to 347 spores/m3.

After a brief recess, the school board resumed the meeting.

The 10-item consent agenda was adopted, including the personnel consent agenda, which was not included publically. Three sets of minutes were approved.

Under Finance, amendments were made to the following State Public School Funds to appropriate funds for textbooks and summer reading camp, transfer unused CTE months allocated to CTE support funding as well as adjust purpose code allocation within Children with Disabilities account to cover bus monitor expenses, totaling $410,773. An additional nonrecurring allocation of $95,520 was received May 31, 2024, to help offset additional expenses for non-position allotments.

And federal grant funds to adjust overall appropriations based on actual grant funding received, $83,022.83.

Under the category “Other,” the board adopted the following items:

– *Board’s meeting schedule for the 2024-2025 school term, found elsewhere in this edition of The Coastland Times.*

– Dare Learning Academy Accountability Model for the next school year, including (1) percentage of students earning a C or better in all course completed will increase from 75% to 78%; (2) number of instructional days lost due to disciplinary issued will be maintained below 50; (3) percentage of alternative school students who remain enrolled in school through end of school year will increase from 85% to 88%; (4) alternative school students will meet growth as calculated using EVAAS, Education Value-Added Assessment System.

– Dare Schools Career and Technical Education Application. This 57-page document is required annually and submitted to the Department of Public Instruction to receive state and federal funding for the upcoming school year.

– Insurance Providers. The superintendent recommended the Young Group for student accident insurance for the next school year at a total cost of $16,355.56 which includes catastrophic insurance for the high schools. That insurance is no longer being offered by the NC High School Athletic Association.

The superintendent also recommended contracting with Surry Insurance Company to provide general liability, errors and omissions, inland marine, automobile, umbrella, workers compensation, and cyber liability insurance for the 2024-25 school year at a total cost of $423,825.10.

– A written request from a parent/guardian asking that a student be released from Dare County Schools to attend Tyrrell County Schools for the 2024-25 school year.

– A training request for submission to North Carolina School Boards Association for two hours of conflict of interest training, May 3, 2024.

– A donation from Kellogg Supply Company for 16 pilings for larger nets for the soccer field. Cape Hatteras soccer coaches approached the company for the $13,000 donation.

Under Board Reports, Susan Bothwell reported visits to First Flight Elementary and Middle schools; Ron Payne reported on a visit to Nags Head Elementary School; and David Twiddy reported on visits to Manteo Elementary and Manteo High schools.

Under Unfinished Business, the school board adopted the following policy manual updates on their second reading:

– Policy 1310/4002: Parental Involvement

– Policy 2127: Board Technology Use

– Policy 4040/7310: Staff-Student Relations

– Policy 4240/7312: Child Abuse and Related Threats to Child Safety

– Policy 4270/6145: Concussion and Head Injury

– NEW Policy 7232: Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace

– Rescind Policy 1712: Equal Employment Opportunity

Also under Unfinished Business, the board approved a two-year renewal contract with Poyner Spruill LLP for legal services from July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2026. Rachel Hitch remains the principal lawyer. The fee for the standard monthly services will be a flat monthly $5,000 fee with no administrative expenses charged.

Fees for the additional services are at an hourly rate of $210 for the work of partners, $190 for associate attorneys, and $105 for the work of paralegals, billed at tenth-of-an-hour increments.

The firm will bill for out-of-pocket expenses. For the additional services, there will be a flat rate administrative expense charge of $11.50 per billed hour in lieu of telephone charges, copying and other typical administrative expenses. With respect to retainer services, only direct out-of-pocket expenses such as mileage, meals and special costs incurred or advanced on behalf of the board are billed.

For New Business, the board’s attorney Rachel Hitch introduced four policy manual updates for first reading which are:

– Policy 3420: Student Promotion and Accountability

– Policy 3460: Graduation Requirements

– Policy 3620: Extracurricular Activities and Student Organizations

– Policy 7130: Licensure

The board gave notice that a special called meeting will be held at noon on June 24, 2024 at the Board of Education Administrative Offices in Nags Head. The meeting is called to handle end-of-year financial closeout.

The next regular meeting of the Dare County Board of Education is scheduled for Aug. 12, 2024 at the Dare County Board of Commissioners Meeting Room, Dare County Administration Building, 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo. The meeting will start at 5 p.m.