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Polk County Board of Education April board meeting recap 

The Polk County Board of Education gave approval Monday to the 2019-2020 school calendar during its regular monthly meeting at Stearns Education Building. 


Students will open the 2019-2020 academic year on August 26, 2020 under the calendar, with the school year ending June 5. The complete calendar, which largely mirrors the 2018-19 calendar, can be viewed at http://calendar.polkschools.org. 


North Carolina school districts are required to follow the state’s mandated school calendar law, which dictates specific start and end times and the number and type of days employees and students must attend. Board of Education members reiterated their support for returning control of the school calendar to local elected boards of education. This would afford more flexibility in scheduling semesters, breaks and makeup days.  


The Polk County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution earlier this year in support of local calendar flexibility.  


Superintendent Aaron Greene noted that several bills pertaining to calendar flexibility have been introduced in the current session of the North Carolina Legislature, and while at least one of those bills has received House approval, the Senate isn’t expected to follow suit. 


Polk County Early College, which operates under separate guidelines, will have its 2019-2020 calendar approved at the board’s May meeting.   


Prior to the calendar discussion, Curriculum Director Ronette Dill shared with the board an update on recent academic competition successes across the district. 


Among the achievements noted by Dill: 


* Polk County Middle School’s Science Olympiad team placed second in the Asheville Regional and qualified for the state competition on April 26-27 


* Polk Central won the Elementary Battle of the Books tournament and will represent the district in the Region 8 competition on April 25 


* Model bridge building teams from Polk County Middle School and Polk County Early College won their respective Region 4 tournaments and will compete in the state tourney on April 26 


* PCMS sixth grader Neil Rostick received the Nicholas Green Award at the state Gifted and Talented Conference, the award given each year to one student across the state for achievement in community service 


* Robotics teams from Polk Central, Tryon and Saluda elementary schools and PCMS competed in the 3rd Annual Carolina Isobots Regional Competition, with teams from Saluda and Tryon each finishing in the top 10 


* Polk County High’s FFA team finished first among West Region teams and 22nd overall in the FFA State Poultry Judging competition. The team and its sponsor, Ashley Gilbert, made a presentation to the board as well about its competition season. 


“The success in these competitions shows the academic excellence of our students as well as the dedication and commitment of our faculty members in preparing students for these competitions,” Dill said. “Polk County Schools students are shining on a variety of stages, often against students from much larger schools.” 


In other items: 


* The board approved the selection of Anderson, Smith & Wike PLLC as its financial auditing firm for next three years and also approved the accreditation plans of Polk County High School and Polk County Early College. 


* The board approved an easement for the Town of Columbus to complete sewer line improvements at the district’s Locus Street property. 


* The board officially approved the budget and personnel reduction plan introduced at last month’s meeting by Greene. 

by Andy Rhinehart