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News from the Board -- May 7, 2019

 

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting at Blue Creek Elementary School. The meeting’s agenda included the OCS Coastal Carolina Community College Board of Trustees appointment, the FY2019-2020 Local Current Expense and Capital Outlay budgets, and an instructional technology highlight.  

After a Good News Spotlight full of student and staff recognitions, including academic, volunteer and professional accomplishments, the Board heard from Chief of Communications Brent Anderson about the CCCC Board of Trustees appointment.  

Mr. Anderson said that the Onslow County Board of Education has a total of four appointments to serve a four-year rotating term on the Coastal Carolina Community College Board of Trustees. The next vacancy will occur in July 2019.  The announcement for the vacancy was published on the Board of Education's website and applications were accepted in the Superintendent's office.  One completed, eligible application, from Mr. Bundage Guya, was received and will remain on file in the Superintendent's office. The Board unanimously reappointed Mr. Guya to his seat.  

Next, Superintendent Barry Collins presented the FY2019-2020 Local Current Expense and Capital Outlay budgets to the Board for their consideration. In his presentation, Dr. Collins presented numbers that reflected a $2 million increase in key continuation costs like salary adjustments, benefit increases, insurance increases and charter school pass through. He also presented a $956,000 needed increase to support the district’s highest priorities: math, mental health, and safety and security. This money would go toward the hiring of 4 social workers, a school psychologist, a suicide prevention program, a math curriculum roll-out, an elementary math licensure program for teachers, additional SROs for elementary schools and more.  

The total Local Current Expense budget request came to $61,645,613.66, which included the requested increases and accounted for a savings of $600,000 worth of program adjustments identified by district staff.  
Dr. Collins began his presentation on the Capital Outlay budget by outlining the scope of work it funds. Onslow County Schools consists of 506 buildings, 285 permanent and 221 mobile, 1,585 acres of maintained land, and 3,838,614 heated square feet. Current school district assets equal $702,457,025 and the average age of all facilities is about 41 years.  

The Capital Outlay budget proposal totaled $6,028,000, which would go to pay for 26 urgent roofing projects, all of which are for roofs more than 25 years old, paving parking lots, 10 additional modular units to keep up with K-3 class size regulation, security systems, furniture, vehicle replacements and much more. The $6 million request is less than 1 percent of the district’s asset value.  

After hearing the presentation of the budget, Board members voted unanimously to approve the budgets as presented. Moving forward, a formal budget request will be sent to the county by May 15, the budget should be adopted by June 4, and the new fiscal year will begin July 1.   

In its final order of business, the Board heard from the newly appointed Director of Digital Learning and Teaching Stephen Taylor and his team about a new Microsoft program students are using in their classes.  

Microsoft tools and the 1:1 program are integrated throughout most aspects of instructional practice across the district. With 90-95% usage by staff and students, communication and collaboration happen every day in Onslow County with Microsoft. Our documents and presentations for staff and students are now cloud based with over 10,000,000 files in our County OneDrive. Within the past year Microsoft has vastly increased their accessibility tools which make instruction more available to students of all abilities. 

The DLT team said that there are 15 languages spoken among OCS students, and that Microsoft Translate is helping build bridges and break down barriers for students whose first language is not English. The tool, which transcribes and translates text is also a useful resource for students with disabilities, such as blindness and deafness.