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Notes from the November 5 Chatham County school board meeting

By Mia Munn
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2012

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Pittsboro, NC - Here are my notes from the school board meeting held on Monday, November, 2012.

There were 15 people supporting the skate park, and four community members in attendance.

No public comments

Consent agenda approved

Disposal of property behind Sheriff’s office for skate park. Pittsboro requested the transfer of the property and would leave the tennis and basketball courts). The district has followed the mandated legal process and offered the property back to the county commissioners. They declined, now board can dispose of property. See the attached deed – board attorney worked with town attorney. Therequest specifies that the property will be used for public recreational use, and shall include permanent public restrooms as soon as possible, with portable toilets until then (by 12/31/12) and permanent drinking fountain by 6/30/12. School system has priority right to use during school hours. MR. O’BRIEN – any opposition? No – only support. Mr Moody – only comments requested access during school day, which was included. MR. HAMM - Legal steps took time. Would have done sooner if possible. President of the skate organization said thank. They are raising funds privately. The skate park will be nice addition to Pittsboro. People will be surprised how much it will be used. It will be aesthetically pleasing. It will take some time to raise more money - $12k already without land over the past 2.5 years - have 501c3 now and land, so more grants will be available. People want to donate – this will make it possible. MR. O’BRIEN – how much? ~$100K.

Approved

Good news

Board retreat 1/14/2013 location tbd – Holmes library at CCCC can only be booked 45 days in advance. Any items to add to agenda let MR. LOGAN know. Items will include OR/ed report. Discuss more deeply “glass half full/half empty” enrollment #s – 2 concepts – presentation later in this meeting. After Thanksgiving the district is doing a parent/staff/student climate survey. Results will be discussed at the retreat.

United Way – all schools at or near goal. JSW creativity award – hat day fund raiser. Thanked by UW. Goal was 23,999. Met 97% $23,344. Last yrs goal $20k

November meeting and event dates. Nov 8 spec meeting for supt goals moved to Dec 3. Nov 12-14 NCSBA Greensboro. Nov 13 awards banquet – 4 nominations. MR. LOGAN was 1 of 8 regional superintendents of the year but not state winner. Thursday Nov 15 dinner to thank leaving board member Flint O’Brien at S&T 6pm. Mon Nov 19 board meeting at JM.

2013 CCS principal of year – Chris Blice from Northwood. New process for admin of yr – nominated by colleagues. 8 nominated. Sr leadership reviews, including nominee writing on prompt. Narrow to 3. Committee interviews 3 and visits school. Northwood has received numerous accolades under Mr. Blice. This is his 5th year as principal there. The school continues to improve. Mr. Blice said this is the best district worked in. NHS great school. He prays to be there a long time. He was late to the meeting due to Natl honor Society induction. Mr. Blice has been regional Principal of year twice before (once in previous district, once here).

UNCG opera experience Nov 8 @ NHS – 9am for 5th graders – annual event/arts education experiences.

About 10 months since last NC17 presentation, but they wanted to come back to the district -- from NHS – this Wed Nov 7. 4am – broadcast 5-7am.

Glass half full/half empty (term from from Education Week article) http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/10/07smith_ep.h32.html?r=659283101 (requires subscription, or 2 week free trial)
Materials posted after meeting (but not yet)

This will not be a conversation – Mr. Logan is not seeking direction. He is just sharing info. Kickoff – more conversation at retreat.
1973 Gallup – 58% confidence in k-12 schools. Halved by 2012. (researcher from RTP – son at NHS)

Most other institutions except military, police and small bus have also seen drops in confidence.

NAEP and drop-out rates have improved

NAEP scores changed from 219 to243 in math between 1973-2008.

National Center of Education statistics – dropout rate decreased to 7.4% (defined as age 16-24 not in school and not completed high school)

Why confidence decrease? America is more cynical.

TIMSS (trends in intl math and science study) 8th grade 500 in 1995 increased to 508 in 2004 – 9 of 48 countries in 2007.
Reading results are not as good. On an International reading literacy rating in 2006 US dropped from 9 to 12th place in reading of participating nations.

Other nations do not attempt to education all their children – many children not included in other countries numbers. MR. LOGAN – visited other countries – special needs not served. US better than most study reports show (underlying numbers)
In NC.

1.4M students in traditional districts-86.7% of total. 45k in charters, 96k in private schools, 80k homeschooled – choice increasing, but most in still in traditional public schools. Schools have to respond to increasing choice – cooperate and communicate.
Map - Chatham 4%-7.9% charter – many counties have no charters – highest county has 16.1% - CC
S in middle tier in state.

Various stats on homeschooling. Students go in and out of homeschool over time. Homeschools are not under the Dept of Public Instruction – parents apply for homeschool license through the governor’s office. Standards are low – only requires a high school diploma. MR. HAMM – in the last few years, online companies have increased in homeschools and increased quality.

Chart - Private school by grade - More lower grades – fewer high school
30% of private school students are in independent schools, 70% in religious schools. 227 independent schools, 468 religious (96k students total)

MR. HAMM – some private may become charter

Over next 3-5 yrs – see significant shifts due to technology, homeschooling, and charters – different access to content.

MR. LEONARD – vouchers would increase. MR. LOGAN – lobbyist told him legislature will pass tax credit or voucher this session.

Region 5 (ours) – 252k in traditional district schools, 7k in charters, 16k in private schools, 13k homeschooled.
Reg 3- wake, reg 6 charlote – reg 5 includes triad
7,952 in CCS – 85% of total . 683 Chatham students in 10 different charters 7%. 114 in private schools 1.26%. (Note – I looked into this number a few months ago – this only represents students in private schools located in Chatham County – the state does not track the home district of private school students. This number is probably significantly higher – St. Thomas More, Durham Academy, Carolina Friends, etc, are not included in this 114.) 570 students are homeschooled in Chatham – 6.3% of total.
MR. LOGAN – HAW river academy notified him today that a number of students had withdrawn (~18) and might be returning to the district.

Perspectives on education –
Strengthening opportunities – need to continue to provide what students want and need to compete
There will be a bill introduced to legislature to allow (require) districts to provide non-traditional students access to facilities at favorable rates – fields, cafeterias – if traditional schools not using them.
Next issue will be homeschool access to extra curriculars – MR. LOGAN wants to find a way to make it work that is fair and equitable to children – some procedures to make sure not limit opportunities for existing students.
Few districts pay for athletics – programs are paid for by schools, boosters, parents – not equitable for homeschoolers to be involved without cost.
CCS provides transportation, lights, coach supplement – but not all cost of athletic teams.
MR. HAMM – would districts be able to charge homeschool students on teams? MR. LOGAN – would recommend cost – needs to be balance.
Districts are required to provide drivers ed to anyone (charter, private, homeschool). Anyone can register for the SAT at a school. They don’t know about ACT cost now that the state pays for juniors to take the ACT.
MR. O’BRIEN – what about curriculum? What if parents want their child to take 1 subject at school?
MR. LOGAN – if homeschooled, the school doesn’t get state/local funding because the student is not in school. Parents pay taxes, but the per pupil funding for the student not paid to the district (or anyone).
MR. O’BRIEN – but pay local taxes (that goes to districts)
MR. LOGAN – but don’t get local or state funds (no allocation, not in public schools)
MR. O’BRIEN – some homeschool students may be behind – better to provide classes, because the student may end up in district
MR. O’BRIEN – like that having this discussion – since change is coming
MR. LOGAN -shouldnt be a fight – it should be fair – but “life is not fair”. Legal standard is “reasonable”. Schools need to prepare – not react.
MR. HAMM – sent info on online students previously – homeschooling will really change due to technology. Will technology change the compulsory attendance law? If work is done, then it’s done, even without spending the time in school. Technology will change the dynamics of pre-k-12 education. It’s coming.
MR. LOGAN – how what we do looks will change drastically in 3-5 years due more choices. How maintain high quality?
Continue discussion at retreat.
MR. O’BRIEN – evidence other countries doing better – US is losing jobs- where going? Low-skill manufacturing is not coming back. Push for more higher education to be competitive.
MR. LOGAN – both national candidates advocate for education to respond to economy. New jobs require diff education, which requires more money to be equitable for all children – that’s what different about the US.
Challenges:
Attract students
Barriers to delivery
Coordin ation/student transition with other models
Strengthening partnerships

Alternative school goals - Dr Jordan (Congratulation to Derrick Jordan who just received his doctorate.)

SAGE
2011-12 droput- 8.5% - GOAL 6.5%

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT - AT LEAST 5 TEACHER/parent contacts per students (based on month 2 enrollment)
Student progress and proficiency Earned to potential credits increase by 5% to 92% based on month 9 PMR
Last year, 35 graduates. Met all local option goals and 2 of 3 AMOs.

1st qtr financial statements MR. MESSER
Required to Adopt budget by purpose and function, but manage by program, so the reports are in a new format – by program (PRC)
Relatively normal school year so far. 22% of state funds spent. Federal – 20% spent. Less federal fudns than previous – stimulus spent except for Race to the Top. Title I and EC largest are the largest federal programs. Local – 23% spent. Relatively high utility costs. Non-instructional personnel increased (state funding for this decreased.) Capital 1 more yr of apple lease. 33% other local expense spent – various grants – NCPreK largest. Capital outlay presented to county commissioner tonight (initial presentation). New High School remain where it was. More data after OR/ed report at the retreat. There will be discussion of the impact of charters on the district’s needs for new school at the retreat. Four charters will impact high school numbers, Woods, Chatham Charter adding 200 high school. Howard and Lillian Lee and RTP STEM high school – both will draw from NE chatham. – how will they impact the need for 4th high school? (note: The Howard and Lillian Lee Charter in Chapel Hill is a K-8 school, and so will have no impact on the need for a high school in Chatham.)
MR. MESSER – introduced pcard – procurement (credit card). This will provide a rebate back to the district which will pay the cost of adding an internal auditor to the district, who can verify all transactions through the pcard, as well as other financial transactions in the district. MR. MESSER and 3 other districts worked with Bank ofAmerica to develop this Pcard program. New hanover, Scotland, Charlotte-Mecklenberg (and I think one other) participate. The Rebate structure (more spend, more rebate) is cooperative (net of all districts participating.) Could include supplies and utilities – anything that can be paid with a credit card (not personnel costs). In Scotland – they spent $4m – supplies, travel, staff development in one year and got $80k back in rebates – could put Apple payment on card (more work for finance department – but benefit – rebate pay for auditor). MR. LOGAN -MR. MESSER has published an article on pcards in a financial officers journal. MR. MESSER – pay balance by 10th of month – no interest. Use rebate to pay for auditor – MR. HAMM – use for anything a credit card can pay for – utilities Mr. Messer – cut # of non-payroll checks in half – good tracking an approvals MR. O’BRIEN – will vendor raise rates to cover cc fees? MR. MESSER – haven’t seen this happen.

Surplus band instruments – list -Beyond repair – surplus - $ back to music program
Approved

Policy updates – 2nd reading
Last month 23 policies – deleted 1. 1 already amended. (21 left) as a result of leg action last session
Posted - no public comments
Approved

Land by Bennett
Mr. Moody – executor of an estate offered 5.1 acres on the south side of Bennett campus. Home on property. Asking price $195K – high price for acreage – don’t need the home. Opposite gym.
Recommendation – don’t purchase – no need, cost, even though land-locked.

Length of school year – due to leg changes – decide before calendar committee starts
180 days and 1025 instructional hours or 185 days - Superintendent recommends 180 and 1025 hrs
State allows recess to be included as instructional time due to the PE requirement. 9 month year . Only need 158 days to get to 1025
Del Turner - didn’t we decide this? MR. LOGAN – last year voted on one year waiver. This is going forward for next year. MS. TURNER – supports 185 days – extra 5 – 3 days of recess and 2 days of professional development. (At this point in the meeting, Ms. Turner left early.)
MR. O’BRIEN – supports longer year – improve educational outcomes. We have the money. Why would superintendent recommend not expanding the year?
MR. LOGAN – cost of 5 days is ~ $60k for buses. Child nutrition self-supporting. More time could have favorable – will 5 days make much difference? Many new initiatives the district and teachers are working on. 5 days would be flex days – work days or professional development. Currently 8 early release days – school doesn’t like – parents don’t like, so the district would keep only 3 – holiday, spring break, end of year, and make the others full days, using the additional 5 days for the staff development usually done on the half days. New calendar – 215 day – 195 days of employment – 10 annual leave, 10 or 11 holidays (depending on if Veterans day is on a weekend or not). Flex days – mandates – 2 protected workdays for teachers. Other can be used how “principal and board deems appropriate”
Surveyed principals, principals surveyed staff. 3 schools opted for 185. 14 schools chose 180. Got suggestions for calendar committee – don’t know breakdown within schools. Feedback – 1 school suggested modified year-round calendar (state board might not accept). MR. LOGAN – want to go back to semester break before holiday break. MR. HAMM – half days at elementary level - instruction for day is minimal (breakfast, restroom, lunch). Not as beneficial as a normal instructional day.
Mr. O’Brien made a motion to have 185 days for 2012-13. Extra 5 days of instruction – effective to improve education. (Ms. McManus she she didn’t think he can say 5 days make a difference – MR. O’BRIEN – studies 10 days make difference – storms/lost days – can’t say 5 extra days doesn’t help). Ms. McManus – second in order to discuss. Need longer 200 day year. If general assembly wants to try to extend year, setting a 180 day year sends the wrong message, but don’t think 5 days will make a difference. MR. HAMM – if state thinks important, it should pay for buses. MR. LOGAN – legislature did put in money for 2 districts that chose 185 for this school year only. At this point – we do have money for buses. We’re in good shape now, but who knows what will happen (66k won’t break the bank),
Mr. Hamm – if most districts go to 185 without additional funds, then the legislature won’t fund the extra days. MR. O’BRIEN – also send message time is important. Ms. McManus – don’t know about any additional legislative funding. MR. LEONARD – 5 days staff development - Staff development funds have been cut – with common core changes need the professional development to plan to better use 180 days.
MR. LOGAN – individual schools could chose – staff development or work days – calendar committee could choose. MR. HAMM – teachers want work days – time to think and set up (not structured class, but time to improve instruction). MR. LEONARD – PLCs (professional learning communities) could meet instead of afterschool. MR. LOGAN – don’t have time for PLCs the way they should be done. Flex days can be changed (workday/prof dev – change with 30 day notice).
MR. LOGAN – districts in region – only 2 of 20 not doing 180 days – Randolph presented 180 and 182 day calendars. Some districts are adjusting time of school day. We meet 1025 so don’t have to, but could/should add time to the school day. Ms. McManus – Charlotte-Mecklenberg added 45 minutes of teaching to the day with no money – they just did it.
MR. LOGAN – High schools already well over 1025 hours. 6-8 ok. K-8 and k-5 schedules tight – 8-2:45 – could go to 8-3 – up to 1080/yr. Like the idea of 200 instructional days
Motion - 185 days – defeated 1-3 (Mr. O’Brien in favor).
MR. LEONARD – motion for 180 days – passed 3-1 (Mr. O’Brien opposed.)
Ms. McManus – bring calendar with 15 minutes more in school day. MR. LOGAN – not on calendar – will discuss with principals.

Supt evaluation timeline
Mr. Logan – goal will include at least 1 (more) on teacher effectiveness by EVAAS (for Mr O’Brien)
Approved

MR. HAMM – thank you note from PTA thrift shop on funding

Mia Munn is a former educator who ran for the Chatham County school board in 2008.

 
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