DOBSON — Special recognitions brightened a Surry County Board of Education meeting Monday night dominated by final preparations on the system’s initial budget request which will be presented to the County Board of Commissioners tonight.
The first of the recognitions honored Copeland, Dobson, Franklin and Mountain Park elementary schools for earning a 5 Star Pre-Kindergarten rating, which is the highest rating given in the assessment that is done every three years.
Schools Director of Communications, Instructional Media and Teacher Quality Sonia Dickerson told the board the slate is cleared after each assessment and the program begins with no rating. The next special recognition went to the Surry Central High School Quiz Bowl Team for capturing top honors in the bowl for the second consecutive year.
Eight teams competed in the event this year. The teams which competed were East Surry, North Surry, Surry Central, Surry Early College, Elkin High School, Stokes Early College, South Stokes High School and Yadkin Early College. Each match pits two high school teams against each other to earn the most correct answers and points. It is sponsored by the 13 libraries of the Northwestern Regional Library System.
Finance Officer Wanda Mitchell told the board budget work was complicated by uncertainty on state and federal levels. She said federal EduJobs funds also expired at the end of the 2011-2012 season. Since the system has not received federal planning allotments, the estimated preliminary budget is based on 2012-2013 funding for budgeting purposes.
The board will request the local appropriation amount be restored to the 2010-2011 per child level of $1,125 and restore regular capital outlay funds to the 2009-2012 by an allocation of $100 per child. This is based on an enrollment of 8,337 in-county students. This represents a decrease in enrollment for the county which had a $50 per child capital outlay allocation in 2012-2013 with 8,406 in-county students. Another appropriation request asks for $40 per child for the Laptop 1:1 Initiative.
She pointed out to the board the proposed budget relies heavily on state and federal funds which have not been finalized for 2013-2014. Additionally, the county has eliminated 76 positions since the 2008-2009 school year. The system also is anticipating additional position cuts and the proposal states that these reductions have been made through retirements and resignations. Mitchell reported that administrative costs have been cut by more than $700,000 since the 2008-2009 school year.
The board also will present the commissioners with requests for Special Capital Projects for 2013-2014. The projects include roof replacements for East Surry and North Surry high schools as well as Flat Rock and Franklin elementary schools, paving, lighting upgrades and three activity buses. Safety Special Allocations requests also will be presented to the commissioners. These requests are in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary slayings. Measures include additional window coverings, gates and security cameras as well re-keying projects in some schools.
“What it all boils down to is we are asking for a 36 cent per student per day increase,” said School Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves. “The capital requests are not just wants they are needs.” Board Chairman Earlie Coe said this would get them back to per-child funding as it was four years ago.
The board approved of a proposal to offer a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp for girls June 3-6. Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Jill Reinhardt told the board the camp would be paid for through Golden LEAF Foundation STEM grant and Career and Technical Education (CTE) funds and would be held at Gentry Middle School. It will be opened to students in grades six through eight with the intent of catching eighth-grade students before they advance to high school. The move does not represent an increase in numbers of participants and will be run this year with teachers from the county school system. Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Scott told the board training of elementary teachers could begin on June 11 so the program could be expanded to serve elementary students by next summer.
In other action, the board approved a request by the Pilot Mountain Middle School Boosters to purchase a metal storage building from Carolina Carports to be placed on the school campus for storage. The 12-by-20-foot building’s price of $1,880 plus tax includes set up, anchoring and delivery.
The board also approved a request to bid on an air condition project for Flat Rock Elementary School’s gymnasium. Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves told the board Principal Molly Anderson and the Flat Rock PTO will contribute $7,000 to the effort with Renfro Corporation contributing from $24,000 to $25,000 to the project. Reeves said the projected cost of the project is $30,000. Any left over funds will go to the school for further projects there.
The board recognized Boy Scout Troop 505 members Tanner Leftwich and Tyler Whitaker who attended the meeting as part of their Eagle Scout application process.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1952.