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Board of Education meets with Commissioners to discuss school site

Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Board of Education met on Monday, February 12, at Pittsboro Elementary School. At 6:30 p.m. the Board held a joint meeting with the Chatham County Board of Commissioners. At 7:30 p.m. the Board of Education held a regularly scheduled work session.

Chatham Board of Education and Commissioners

Joint Session
Board of Education members presented a PowerPoint presentation with information about the 94-acre property on Jack Bennett Road. The slide topics were: a site map; site facts including that seventy percent of the land is usable (above the NC Department of Public Instruction- recommended 50-60%), and water, soil, and power details; site concerns: single entrance (that would be two-lane; the Board would like to explore a second entrance from another area), NCDOT accident reports for Jack Bennett Rd., water-related issues (drainage, waste water, wetlands and environmental impact) and soil types; plans for the school with 1,000 student capacity, campus to include athletic fields and stadium, gyms, and parking, opening date: Fall, 2011; projected student growth (10,206 for the district that is now slightly over 7,600); projected needs for additional properties to build new elementary, middle and high schools; planning now for the future and funding for feasibility studies; and, in summary, that the Board is looking to identify possible site alternatives.

Gerald Totten

Commissioner questions were then addressed. Work on the new high school would need to begin in 2008 for it to open in 2011. The two boards discussed school cost in comparison high schools built in area school districts.

Patrick Barnes

Patrick Barnes reminded the Board of Education of funding options related to amounts the county can borrow. The county created a schedule in November of 2005. Barnes also encouraged the district to utilize its Construction Manager and study the current site soil in considering the potential costs for new property versus work that would need to be done on the current site. Concerns about sewage, wetlands, traffic, and impact on environmental and community growth were also mentioned. The Board is waiting to receive updated information from a report from the OR/Ed. lab in March.

George Lucier

George Lucier inquired about an auxiliary gym for Northwood High School that would help current overcrowding. Lucier mentioned possible county funding support for one. The general consensus of the Commissioners is to utilize the Certificate of Participation (COP) funding method for building a new high school. COP would require no increase of taxes for citizens.

Dr. Ann Hart, Superintendent of Schools, noted that the school district currently needs funding for feasibility studies and requested it be provided now from the county. The Commissioners will consider a resolution to authorize assistance in obtaining a second entryway to the school site from Booth Mountain.

Dr. Hart noted the district is looking at school prototype plans, mentioned by a Commissioner in the earlier discussion. She also noted that the Commissioners have a copy of the school capital improvement plan with projects through 2014.

Carl Thompson, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, clarified that the Board of Education will return to the Commissioners when it has additional information in March from the OR/Ed. Lab. Norman Clark, Board of Education Chairman, confirmed the Board of Education will do so.

Work Session

The Board approved its work session agenda as presented. The Board approved the corrected minutes from its January 22nd meeting at J.S. Waters.

Norman Clark

During the Board of Education sharing and Superintendent's comments, Dr. Hart acknowledged the recent County Science Fair winners and the upcoming Minority Achievement Awards on February 26. She also noted that a group from Jordan-Matthews will participate in the Legislative Technology Day in Raleigh on February 13. Dr. Hart also shared details with the Board about upcoming meeting agenda items.

Dr. Robin McCoy, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, introduced Mary Lee Moore, Director of Federal Programs in Chatham County Schools, discussed Limited English Proficient (LEP) Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives and results. The report is a requirement of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Dr. Hart shared an update from last Tuesday night's redistricting committee meeting.

Kathie Russell

The Board voted to approve a school facilities resolution 1) in support of a two billion dollar K-12 Public School Facility Bond Referendum for North Carolina and 2) that encourages the 2007 General Assembly to take necessary actions for a public vote on the issue.

The Board approved the following fundraiser requests:
o Chatham Central - Student Council - Dance Ticket Sales
o Jordan-Matthews - general school fund - Car Magnet Sale
o Jordan-Matthews - Quiz Bowl team - Middle school invitational academic tournament
o Northwood - fundraising committee - Crushed Soda Sale
o Northwood - Theatre Arts Department - Summer Drama Camp

The Board moved into closed session following the open session.

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Board of Education meets with Commissioners to discuss school site
Dr. Ann Hart, Superintendent of Chatham County Schools.
photo by Gene Galin
News Unofficial Chatham County Schools site

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