From the Boardroom

Wayne County Board of Education Meeting Recap

During the Wayne County Board of Education regularly scheduled June 7, 2021 monthly meeting, the Board was presented much information and took several key actions, including: approving a new school located on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and making a significant debt payment to pay off State debt incurred last summer due to overspending.

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Board presented DRAFT Virtual Learning Plan for 2021-2022

Following some adjustments to the agenda schedule, Dr. Marcia Manning (Assistant Superintendent for Student Services & Innovative Programs) presented a draft Virtual Learning Plan for the 2021-2022 school year for grades 3-8 students. Like similar programs being approved in other school districts, Dr. Manning shared that there will be some limitations which were not in place this year:

  • Interested families must apply in order for their child to be considered for virtual instruction in 2021-2022;

  • Any student eligible for virtual instruction must have demonstrated success in virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year;

  • Students must be able to participate in synchronous instruction;

  • Students must provide a statement with reasons why they wish to be in virtual learning (students with medical conditions would get priority);

  • Grades 3-8 must have a learning coach at home;

  • Elective options would be limited;

  • Students will not be able to participate in extracurricular activities; and,

  • All participating students must commit to a full semester;

Dr. Manning shared that the district is considering limiting the 2021-2022 Virtual Learning Program to grades 4-12, and will make a final decision after meeting with principals later this week. Once the plan is finalized, the district will publicize it for interested families to apply. Dr. Manning reiterated to the Board members that the district is working to ensure teachers assigned to the virtual program will not have face to face classes as well.

Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County provides update on services and efforts to support WCPS students

Selena Bennett, Executive Director of Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County (CCSWC), shared an overview of its organization’s efforts with the Board. She shared that CCSWC currently serves nine schools, with staff supporting three high schools, five middle schools, and Carver Heights Elementary. In addition to in-school support services, Bennett shared that this past year CCSWC has collected over $50,000 in school supplies for students in need. Looking forward, Bennett shared that CCSWC is currently looking to add reading support and mentor services at Carver Elementary in Mount Olive and Brogden Primary in Dudley, and would like the Board to consider increasing funding to support the organization’s expansion efforts to help address learning loss due to the global health crisis.

Later in the meeting, the Board of Education discussed CCSWC annual $40,000 contract and the potential funding increase as part of its Purchase Orders & Contracts. The Board ultimately tabled the contract and potential funding increase until a later meeting to determine what the district can afford at this time and if there is a sustainable funding stream that can support a funding increase moving forward.

Board of Education approves new school on SJAFB

Interim Superintendent, Dr. David Lewis, presented a proposal and recommendation to launch the Wayne School of Technical Arts, a joint effort between Wayne County Public Schools (WCPS) and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (SJAFB). Lewis shared in December of 2020, the Wayne County Board of Education, Wayne County Board of Commissioners, and the SJAFB leadership signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the development of a new school on the SJAFB campus. Dr. Lewis shared that many planning meetings have been held focusing on site identification, curriculum, and program planning. District leadership shared that if approved, the proposed Wayne School of Technical Arts will be housed in the SJAFB Education Center and will open in Fall of 2022. Once at capacity, it will serve approximately 420 military and non-military connected students in grades 6-12. In addition to AP Capstone and STEM offerings, the school plans to offer exciting and engaging programs such as Digital Design and Animation, Game Art Design, and Drone Technology.

Dr Lewis shared upon approval, the district will utilize the 2021-2022 school year as a formal planning year for populating, staffing and equipping the school. The district will also need to finalize a lease agreement with the SJAFB, and develop a budget and identify funding sources as needed. Following the leadership update, Colonel Kurt Helphinstine, 4th Fighter Wing Commander, addressed the Board and expressed his excitement to have another innovative school offering available for Wayne County students that can become a model for military installations and school districts across the nation.

Without any discussion, the Board unanimously approved the Wayne School of Technical Arts.

Public Comment

Five individuals addressed the following topics with the Board during its Public Comment period:

  • Critical Race Theory (Tim Whitman, parent)

  • Critical Race Theory (Pastor Brian Hawkins, Divine Appointment Worship Center)

  • Tracks at Dillard Middle & Goldsboro High (Azlea Hubbard, Saved News)

  • Critical Race Theory (Linda Harper, Liberty First)

  • Resolution to improve student learning (Tiffany Kilgore, Wayne County Association of Educators)

Board presented Quarterly Finance Report

Chief Finance Officer, Leslie Rouse, presented the district’s Quarterly Report. Rouse shared that items in red will be zeroed out prior to the close of the school year utilizing available funding sources. Rouse shared that ROTC funds and a state funding for an NC Pre-K bonus did not fully fund expenses. The district will utilize revenue from indirect costs to help balance the negative budgets for those two items.

Board of Education Policies

Board highlights student and staff achievements

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As part of its Board Spotlights, 15 students and staff were recognized for the following achievements:

  • WCPS "Of the Year" Winners

    • WCPS Principal of the Year - Dr. Damesha Smith (Brogden Middle)

    • WCPS Assistant Principal of the Year - Michael Jones (Southern Wayne High)

    • WCPS Teacher of the Year - Stephanie Gall (Brogden Middle)

    • WCPS Beginning Teacher of the Year - Reynard "Wes" Boyd (Spring Creek Middle)

    • WCPS Instructional Assistant of the Year - Lori Huston (Northeast Elementary)

    • WCPS CTE Middle/High Teachers of the Year - Matthew Radford (Charles B. Aycock High) & Maya Fulton (Wayne School of Engineering)

    • WCPS Counselor of the Year - Renee Phillips (Eastern Wayne Middle)

  • Outstanding Secondary Math Teacher - Robin Bryant (Greenwood Middle)

  • National Navy ROTC Scholarship - Peyton Wilkins (Wayne School of Engineering)

  • Corvias Scholarship - Kiera Negron (Wayne Early/Middle College High School)

  • Governor's School - Taylor Gery (Rosewood High), Anna Evans (Spring Creek High), & Tanner Price (Wayne Early/Middle College High School)

  • NCSSA & NCALSD Dr. Samuel Houston Leadership Award - Dr. Yvette Smith Mason (WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources & Professional Development)

Board approves Construction Manager At Risk for new Fremont Elementary School project

In follow-up to the Board’s May 18 interviews of potential companies to serve as the Construction Manager At Risk for the new Fremont Elementary School project, Board member Leatham motioned to select Daniels & Daniels (one of the three companies who submitted RFQ documents and presented to the board) as the Construction Manager At Risk for the Fremont Elementary School construction project and to enter into a Pre-Construction Contract pending legal review. The motion was seconded by Vice-Chair Democko. Without discussion, the motion passed 4-2 (Voting in Favor: Leatham, Sanders, Vice-Chair Democko, & Chair West / Voting Against: Henderson & Burden]

Immediately following the vote, Interim Superintendent Lewis requested that the Board allow him to pursue a joint meeting to finalize a funding agreement with the Wayne County Board of Commissioners to pay for the school construction project. Board Chair West gave permission for Dr. Lewis to follow-up with the Wayne County Manager for a potential meeting later this month.

Board hears CTE update & Approves CTE CCIP Plan

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Career & Technical Education Director, Beverly Boltinhouse, gave the Board a CTE Update and presented her department’s 2021-2022 North Carolina CCIP Plan. As part of her presentation, the Board was presented a special video (produced by district communications staff) highlighting the various CTE programs available in WCPS schools. The CCIP plan was passed unanimously.

Board approves 2nd payment to pay off State debt

In 2019-2020, the district overspent its State budget by $2.2 million. It was also charged a 1% monthly interest charge for any funds left unpaid. In March of 2021, the Board approved a $1.3 million payment to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Interim Superintendent Lewis stated he and the Finance Department have closely monitored budgets throughout the Spring. They have also worked closely with Aaron Beaulieu (President of School Operations Specialists, LLC), who was first contracted with the district last summer to provide financial consulting support after financial issues came to light. Lewis stated it was their recommendation to make an $871 thousand dollar payment, along with any remaining interest charges owed, to eliminate the remaining State debt. The Board unanimously approved the requested debt payment and any interest that may remain.

Board takes multiple actions & Approves Consent Agenda

The following Board Action items were unanimously approved:

Alternative Accountability Model Participation

Capital Project List Fund 4 Planning Allotment for 2021-22

Child Nutrition and Print Shop Surplus Request

School Opening and Closing Times for 2021-22

WCPS Social Emotional Learning and School Mental Health Plan

Memorandum of Agreement between Wayne County Health Department & WCPS

Budget Amendment #3

2021-2022 Insurance

2021-2022 Payroll Calendar

The Board took the follow actions specific to Purchase Orders & Contracts

  • Venture Rehabilitation Group: Passed Unanimously

  • Community Supporting Schools of Wayne County: Tabled until a future meeting as noted above

Before moving to Closing Comments, the Board approved its Consent Agenda, which included past meeting minutes, student reassignments/transfer requests, a General Board Personnel Report, School Advisory Council Recommendations, and Donations.

Board Meeting Resources for June 7, 2021 Meeting

The full June 7, 2021 Board Meeting can be viewed by clicking on Video Link. This meeting and past meeting videos can be viewed by clicking on the following Board Meeting Videos Link. The June 7, 2021 Meeting agenda and associated materials presented to the Board can be viewed by clicking on Meeting Link.

DISTRICT 1: Mr. Don Christopher West (Chair) -

DISTRICT 2: Mr. H. Len Henderson -

DISTRICT 3: Ms. Patricia A. Burden -

DISTRICT 4: Mrs. Jennifer S. Strickland -

DISTRICT 5: Dr. Joseph W. Democko (Vice-Chair) -

DISTRICT 6: Mr. Wade Leatham -

AT LARGE: Mr. J. Tommy Sanders III -