ALBEMARLE – The Stanly County Schools Board of Education met on April 4 with a resolution opposing a recent house bill, the main item on the agenda.
The board began their meeting by passing a resolution opposing House Bill 219 Charter School Omnibus due to what they claimed would essentially amount to extra funding for charter schools at the expense of public schools.
“If HB219 passes, the total financial impact on Stanly County Schools and loss of operating funding based on the fiscal year 2022-23 would be substantial,” said Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis. “The total financial impact to all local school districts could expand over time and lead to egregious results.
“According to BEST NC’s, which is a business consortium that basically evaluates public education in Stanly County and North Carolina, facts and figures, charter schools fail to meet the standards at the same level that public schools did in the EOC/EOG testing in 2022,” said board member Bill Sorenson. “What the legislature is asking us to do is to give them more money to fail more frequently. That’s what I feel like.”
The board then passed the Stanly County Schools Legislative Agenda for 2023 to be submitted to the North Carolina General Assembly.
“As far as I’ve been on this board and even before then, I do not remember a time that the Stanly County School Board has drafted a legislative agenda that they send to the North Carolina General Assembly,” said Board Chair Glenda Gibson. “And I do know that many school systems do that, and we know the importance of that. These items are what we value as being extremely important to Stanly County Schools.”
The Legislative Agenda contains six key areas of focus for Stanly County Schools: recruiting and retaining a high-quality workforce, flexibility, school construction capital, school safety, school performance grade accountability, and public school funding.
For recruiting and retaining a high-quality workforce, SCS intends to reinstate pay for advanced degrees, restore longevity pay for teachers, increase teacher salary to the national average, pay improvement for all school personnel, remove the retiree wait period, and reinstate retirement insurance and expand teaching fellows program to include all education majors.
For flexibility, SCS intends to implement the same local school board flexibility as charter schools in terms of calendar, funding, and teacher licensure.
For school construction capital, SCS intends to search out statewide construction bonds for new school construction and renovations with funds distributed equitably, implement transparency in programs used to fund capital projects, and work towards having fewer restrictions on lottery funding.
For school safety, SCS intends to fully fund SROs in every school and increase funding for security equipment and weapon detection systems.
For school performance grade accountability, SCS intends to have a larger focus on growth than proficiency, implement other school quality metrics instead of just proficiency and growth, and include private schools receiving school vouchers to be included in the school accountability model.
And for public school funding, SCS intends to fully fund the class size mandates for K-3, allow flexibility in allotments to include funding for long-term substitutes and contracted services, increase funding for support staff, increase per-pupil funding to the national average, fully fund needs for students with disabilities, have equitable low-wealth funding to compete with wealthier districts and supplements, and oppose laws that cause inequitable funding between regular public schools and charter schools.
The board then finally approved its audit contract for the 2022-23 school year, going with the firm of Anderson, Smith & Wike, PLLC, for an amount totaling $38,000.
And in closing statements, Vice Chair Carla Poplin addressed a rumor that had been circulating regarding school closures.
“We have no intention of closing East [Albemarle] Elementary School,” said board member Carla Poplin. “I’m not sure where that came from exactly. And frankly, we have no intention of closing any school at this time, and that has been talked about as far as that goes.”
The Stanly County Schools Board of Education will next meet May 2.