Polk School Board discusses new school buses, snow make up days

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Polk County school board convened on Feb. 1 to discuss upcoming tests for students, purchasing new school buses and make up days for students following last week’s winter storm that pulled students from schools for three days.

Aaron Greene began the meeting with a recap of the Winter Wonderland professional development sessions conducted by the school system, saying the 13 sessions that were held over a two day period were “engaging, very practical and all the teachers left there with stuff they could use the next day.”

Dave Scherping then presented the website used to display the North Carolina state report card for the school systems in the state, which can be used by parents to compare schools for a variety of reasons spanning from class sizes to average grades and turnover rates.

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“It’s great if the person knows a little bit about the school system going into the website, but bad for those who just come in to search something fresh,” Scherping said. “This website gives the user a four page snapshot of the district they are searching and it’s easy to compare schools or districts with it too.”

That website is ncreportcards.ondemand.sas.com, according to Scherping, and is compiled with numerous reports the Polk County school system files throughout the year.

Those reports are then aggregated for display on this website in July, but can also be given out as hard copies for those who do not have Internet access.

End of course testing for December and January was addressed by Scherping, and the technology director noted no major changes up or down in the performance of the system’s students.

“I did want to mention that the high school is almost out of paper tests, and most of them are online,” Scherping said. “Math tests are still done on paper, which the teachers prefer because of scratch paper for the students to show their work.”

A motion was made to approve the funding of two yellow school buses for the county at the meeting.

According to superintendent Bill Miller, the state will purchase the two buses and will lease the vehicles to the county. The value of each bus is $82,139, and the board approved the order.

To allow for the purchase of these buses, the board approved a budget amendment for $164,278.

Geoffrey Tenant, board chair, said this purchase would replace two “ancient” buses with two new ones.

An amendment to the Polk County school calendars was also approved by the board, which now sees students making up three days missed due to January’s winter storm.

Students of the Polk County school system will now be required to attend school on February 29, March 29 and April 25. Polk County Early College students received a change in their calendar, and they will now be attending school on March 4 and 7.

“When I made the calendar initially, I made an error and scheduled the early college students 181 days,” Scherping said. “March 28, which used to be an optional work day, is now an annual leave day. This gives those students the whole week after Easter off for Spring Break.”

The board also made action to further the process of searching for a new superintendent following Bill Miller’s announcement to retire, effective Aug. 1, 2016.

Applicants for the position have until Feb. 25 to fill out their applications. The board approved the decision to call a special board meeting on March 3 to review viable applicants and their applications.

With no further business, the board adjourned at 7:25 p.m.