After the Anson County Board of Education opened its March meeting with recognition of a stellar group of high school students, the board discussed the school system's preparation for the implementation of Senate Bill 402, and agreed to change the configuration of which grades will attend Wadesboro Primary and Elementary schools next year.
During the recognition portion of the meeting, the coaching staff and players of Anson High School's varsity Lady Bearcats basketball team were honored for earning the conference championship this year. “These athletes, based on their hard work and dedication, did Anson County proud,” Superintendent Michael Freeman said.
Next up, JROTC cadets who participated in the Best of the Best competition received certificates of appreciation for placing in the top 10 out of 350 other high schools throughout the region.
Lastly, Anson County Early College junior Maria Bennett was honored for creating a piece of art, a painting called “Spring Buddy,” which will hang at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Senate Bill 402
During his monthly report to the school board, Superintendent Michael Freeman gave an update on Senate Bill 402, which has generated “much conversation throughout the year.”
“We are in the process of implementing Senate Bill 402,” Freeman said. “It basically eliminates tenure or career status for teachers in North Carolina.”
Instead, the legislation offers financial incentives and contracts to teachers, but ultimately eliminates career status or tenure by 2018. “[Career status] is something teachers have earned through longevity and accomplishments,” Freeman said. “Effective now, as of July 1, 2013, teachers are no longer eligible for career status.”
The bill requires that 25 percent of teachers can be identified to receive a $500 bonus once a year for up to four years, and receive a contract. A rubric is used to select the 25 percent, Freeman explained. “If they accept, they immediately give up career status,” he said.
However, teachers can choose to opt out, but they will still lose their career status by 2018. The Board of Education will make the final decision on contracts at the May meeting, and the teachers can choose to accept or opt out at the June meeting.
“I am very proud of our Board of Education,” said Dannie Montgomery, head of the Anson County Association of Educators. “You are truly dedicated to Anson County. All of the excitement that was in the room a few moments ago, all of our wonderful students' achievements, I feel like a tub of ice water's been dumped over us because of Senate Bill 402.”
“In a time when educators haven't had a raise since 2008,” she added, “we ask for some incentive and they come up with this.”
She praised the school board for standing behind teachers, but said she realizes they have to do what the state mandates. She said the ACAE has started a petition and are working on getting the word out. “Thank you for giving us the backbone to stand and fight in Anson County,” she told the board members.
WPS, WES configuration change
The school board unanimously approved changing the grade-span configuration for Wadesboro Primary School and Wadesboro Elementary School Monday night.
Freeman said that Administration is recommending that WPS be configured as a K-5 school, with WES still continuing as a grade 5-6 school. He added that the Administration will decide which students will attend fifth grade at WPS, and which will attend fifth grade at WES.
“I want to reassure staff that there will not be any staff member whose position will be in jeopardy because of this change,” Freeman said. Parents and staff will have input as well.
In other business at the March monthly meeting, the school board:
- agreed to tentatively allow board chair Lisa Davis to sign a contract with Russell Athletics, to provide athletic uniforms at a 15-percent discount for Anson High School.
- heard about a plan to decrease the summer work week for school staff to four days, June 16 through Aug. 7. Freeman said his staff will be collecting data this summer to see if this change results in savings on utilities bills.
- learned that that Star Reading assessment already used by third grade teachers has been approved by the N.C. Board of Education as an alternative assessment for the Read to Achieve program.
The school board will next meet on April 28, with public session opening around 6:30 p.m., at the Charles Riddle Staff Development Center, Camden Road, Wadesboro.