One of the most challenging jobs for any School Board and administrative staff is to work with a budget that doesn’t meet all of the needs for its local schools. Superintendent Jeanette Warwick, along with the Craig County School Board members, has worked diligently to try to meet the most important needs of the schools and put their students first before detailing any other requests.
Warwick has also stressed that the staff is of utmost importance.
At the April School Board meeting, salaries, as well as many other needs, were brought to the table to prepare the finalization of the budget for the 2019 – 2010 academic school year. Members present include Warwick, Pat Myers, Susan Crenshaw and Gina Smith. George Foster and Aaron Calfee were unable to attend.
Robin Nobles, a volunteer soccer coach and nurse, shared with the Board that she much appreciated the confidence they showed toward her. “It is a big commitment for me, and I appreciate your faith in me to run the program,” she said.
She informed the Board that she also has an outside commitment with a national medical team which gets called to different places when needs arise. Two weeks ago, she was invited to go to Africa. Nobles added that she has a great volunteer staff and four assistant coaches that cover the team whenever she is gone.
“I have complete confidence in them, and the students have really encouraged me to go and to ‘stream it’ for them while I am there,” she said.
Graduation Day is on a weekday, Thursday, May 23, this year, has been a subject of discussion before, and Sue Bostic attended to inquire of the reasoning why it could not be on a weekend.
“I can speak of last year when it was on a Friday morning, when tons of family could not attend. Maybe you could take a poll of the parents of the senior class or ask the senior class,” Bostic said. “Many parents cannot get off of work to attend their own child’s graduation. I believe that Saturday morning would be better for all parents as well as others to attend and support the graduating seniors.”
Warwick informed the Board of the Federal audit that was conducted in November by the Department of Education. “I wish to give Sherry Crowder a big kudos because until we went through this audit, I had absolutely no idea how complicated her daily job is,” she said before adding that “the menus cannot exceed a certain percentage of salt, fat, calories and carbs, being just a few list of regulations.”
Policy updates were reviewed and voted on.
The CTE Career and Technical Education program was presented by Samuel Foster.
“These are classes that students take that almost lead directly to jobs. In the old days, we would call them ‘shop classes.’ A lot of them do not require more than a high school education as most require additional ‘certifications’ specific to the job itself,” Foster explained.
There are 16 Career Clusters which lead to 79 career paths. Each pathway is a plan of study which is a list of courses a student would take to concentrate their course work around a specific career cluster and pathway; agriculture (Ag) being an example. This starts in the seventh grade.
Foster explained, “In the example of Ag, it’s not the ‘farmer’ side that is taught, but more of ‘power systems,’ like how to repair tractors, how to fix things which is the business end of farming which leads to many other jobs such as: welder, machinists, software development and different technician jobs.”
CTE stresses that one of the positive benefits of the program is the ‘Personal Qualities and People Skills’ the students must learn. “These are things the students not only have to learn but are required to demonstrate to the teacher that they can do them,” noted Foster
Such skills would include: positive work ethic, integrity, teamwork skills, self-representation, conflict resolution skills and creativity and resourcefulness.
Evelyn Steege, the guidance counselor, has met with students from the seventh-grade to high school seniors and created a career plan for each, mapping out their high school career. She will meet with the sixth-graders before the end of the school year.
“Next year we have 43 registered for BTEC and this year had 35 students who attended,” Foster noted.
Student registration for 2019-2020 includes: AP Computer (21), Ag Structural (8), Ag Power Systems (33), Vet tech (1), Nurse aide 1 and 4 (5). auto service 2 (1), building trades (1), cosmetology 1 (3), cosmetology 2 (4), welding 1, 3 (6) and welding 2 (3) and criminal justice 1 and 3 in criminal justice 2.
Foster noted that the teachers who teach the classes need to have endorsements or specific requirements.
Foster gave the Board an example of adding a program, such as an auto repair shop would be approximately $240,000, and for the basics of cosmetology, it would be about $20,000 for the equipment. For his interest, Foster figured what it would cost to build a similar building at BTEC. The cost came to 7.7 million.
Foster continued to explain the specifics of the Perkins Grant which has an April 30 submission deadline. He will not know how much the school will receive until June; therefore, he used last year’s budget of $14,525.
“The funds will to help send 45 students over the mountain to a 7.7-million-dollar facility because we want them to have those opportunities,” Foster said. It will also help with equipment updates, iCEV curriculum for Ag and more.
Foster continued, “CTE is a huge program and it benefits many of our students and in a lot of ways it is that ‘hands-on’ learning that we want them to be doing as well as project based. As a chemistry teacher, I know what the core side has to do and the CTE side can do so much more.”
Myers added that he was happy to see the numbers growing from 35 to 43.
Warwick also noted, “If you remember it is based on the census rate and the poverty level. Even though we have 68 percent free and reduced lunch, the poverty level from the census is only 11 percent in Craig County.”
Foster added, “It’s not based on the number of students in poverty, but the number of families in poverty.”
The school calendar was presented and accepted. The Board and staff felt it necessary to make sure they could parallel their calendar with BTEC.
The salary increases from the budget presented last month went from a 1.7 to a 2 percent increase.
Warwick also added that they had some savings in the new internet and phone systems as well as the new copiers where they had renegotiated contracts and applied it to the raises. “My understanding is that Mr. Collins does have level funding from last year in the budget but is giving us the level funding that we requested; therefore, we are not having to make further cuts to that revenue.”
The next School Board meeting will be on May 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Media Room. Warwick, the School Board and teachers and staff at CCPS encourages parents and citizens to attend.