Public Input Opportunity

posted Jan 17, 2019, 6:39 AM by Xan Robinson

Special Meetings Notice

posted Jan 17, 2019, 6:30 AM by Xan Robinson   [ updated Jan 17, 2019, 6:38 AM ]

Notice of Special Meetings

posted Jan 10, 2019, 7:59 AM by Xan Robinson   [ updated Jan 10, 2019, 8:02 AM ]

Notice of Special Meetings

posted Jan 4, 2019, 11:26 AM by Xan Robinson   [ updated Jan 10, 2019, 8:02 AM ]

Special Board Meeting

posted Dec 18, 2018, 5:24 AM by Xan Robinson   [ updated Dec 31, 2018, 6:50 AM ]

Changes to YCS School Calendar

posted Dec 14, 2018, 11:47 AM by Xan Robinson

Last week’s Winter Storm Diego kept Yancey County students out of school a total of four days, returning to school on Friday on a two hour delay. 

As of Friday, this makes a total of nine days of school that have been lost to inclement weather this school year – creating a challenge for the remainder of the school year as we’ve yet to move into the true winter weather months of January, February, and March.

To help recover instructional hours, Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton has made changes to the school calendar as follows:

Friday, December 21st – The last school day prior to winter break and originally a half-day of school is now a full day of school for students and staff. 

Friday, January 4, 2019 – Originally a mandatory teacher workday is now the return date for students from winter break and a full, regular day of school.  Professional Development training for teachers that had been scheduled for the 4th have been moved to January 3rd or have been adjusted on the 4th to accommodate the regular school day.

“These adjustments have not been made lightly nor something we want to do,” said Dr. Tipton, “but the reality is, the hours we can recover from this day and half equals attending Saturday School on three days.  Having already missed so many days – before January – can make it very difficult to meet our instructional hours for the year should we miss more school for inclement weather.”

A phone message was sent out to students’ families on Friday evening detailing the changes.  To see the current YCS school calendar, visit and click on the Calendars Tab – 2018-19 YCS Instructional Calendar.


New Notification System Nov. 1st

posted Oct 24, 2018, 8:53 AM by Xan Robinson   [ updated Oct 24, 2018, 10:30 AM ]

   Yancey County Schools will begin using a new notification call system beginning November 1st … called SwiftK12 … and parents and staff will see a difference in how they are receiving school news through calls, texts, and emails.

   With our previous system, YCS was, at times, experiencing significant delays in call delivery, the looping of messages, partial message delivery, or no delivery at all. In moving to the SK12 system, this will allow YCS to get contact information more streamlined, allowing calls, texts, and emails to be delivered in a much quicker and more efficient manner.

   So what does this mean to our parents?   SK12 is embedded in our PowerSchool Student Data System.   The only numbers that will now receive calls or texts will be the student’s home phone, and contact numbers on file for mom and dad.   There will be no change to email contact.   This is quite different, with fewer contact numbers per student, however, this will allow YCS to make contact quicker with confidence in knowing the calls, texts, and emails are being delivered.

   Parents or guardians can login to the PowerSchool Parent Portal for their child, accessing a new Alerting SwiftK12 option on the left-hand side of the screen, to view the current numbers and email that will be used for contact.

   Please note … this can only be viewed through login on a laptop or desktop … this option is NOT available for view on the PowerSchool mobile app on a phone or tablet.  We apologize for this inconvenience, the SK12 company is working on a fix for this.

   Any parent or guardian needing to make a number or email change, should contact their child’s school. 

  We appreciate the continued patience and support of our parents, staff and students as we transition to this new notification system.  

American Red Cross Pillowcase Project

posted Sep 25, 2018, 9:36 AM by Xan Robinson

Recently, third and fourth grade students at both South Toe and Micaville Elementary Schools participated in the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project.  The Pillowcase Project was created by the American Red Cross after the organization learned that during Hurricane Katrina many people used pillowcases to carry their valuables when they evacuated.  In partnership with Disney, the Red Cross developed a multiyear effort to provide elementary school students with an emergency preparedness education program. This program includes information on how to stay safe during an emergency as well as provides a Disney-designed pillowcase to every participant.

Guided by nursing students from Lees McRae College, students at both elementary schools learned how to prevent and stay safe during a home fire.  To supplement the lesson, each student was given a workbook to help increase household preparedness levels in case of an emergency.  Additionally, each student was able to design a Disney-themed pillowcase to use as a personal preparedness kit.  

Yancey County Schools Works to Maintain Quality Educational Programs Despite Budget Concerns

posted Sep 14, 2018, 10:15 AM by Xan Robinson

Yancey County Schools is working hard to maintain stable learning environments for students, consistent work environments for Yancey County School employees, and a responsible budget despite low revenues.

Three revenue sources - state, federal, and local- provide large portions of general operating funding for Yancey County Schools.  The majority of state funding is based on yearly student enrollment figures or average daily membership.  Declining student enrollment in past years has caused a decrease in the number of state-funded positions awarded to Yancey County Schools on a yearly basis. According to information from the NC Department of Public Instruction, from the 2011 – 12 school year until the present, Yancey County Schools lost approximately 44 full-time positions from cafeteria staff to teachers; 12 of the losses were full-time, state-funded teaching positions.  Rather than eliminating essential positions during this time period, the decision was made to continue employment for as long as financially affordable.  This intentional decision has allowed students more stable and effective learning environments and has allowed our valued employees steady, continuous employment.  Quality employees, at every level, are essential for student success. 

Other decreases in funding include State Low Wealth funding (not awarded beginning in 2012-13) and federal funding in Title I and Title II. These decreases along with increases in benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and modest state-salary increases placed additional strain on Yancey County School budgets.  Yancey County Schools has requested additional funding yearly, but not all requests could be granted.  Local funds were provided for one-to-one Chromebooks at the high school as well as teacher supplies and teacher supplements across the district. Yancey County Board of Education and Yancey County Commissioners are partners in open and frank conversations regarding school system needs and funding.  It is important to note that the funds for the new Blue Ridge Elementary School are provided from Capital Outlay Sales Tax Revenue, Public School Capital Building Fund, Lottery Proceeds and funds obtained by the county.  All of these funds are restricted for public school capital outlay needs. State and local funds are for general operation (salaries, instructional needs, general operations) of our school system. 

How did Yancey County Schools pay the cost of funding lost positions as well as other additional expenses?  A source known as “fund balance” was used.  What is fund balance?  According to Yancey County Schools Finance Office, “fund balance” might be explained as “liquid assets” accumulated by a school system to assist with cash flow or emergencies, somewhat like having savings.  An amount equal to three months operating costs is desired to be on-hand for Yancey County Schools.  During 2012 – 13 school year, fund balance was recorded as 2.5 million dollars.  At the end of the 2017 – 18 school year, according to figures from Yancey County Schools Finance Department, fund balance was approximately $400,000.  Over the six-year period from 12 -13 through17-18, an average of $350,000 was needed yearly from fund balance to make ends meet. During budget planning sessions for the 2018 – 19 school year, the anticipated need from fund balance was estimated at $350,000, leaving approximately $50,000 projected for the end of the 2018 – 19 school year.  In addition, Yancey County Schools, along with other public-school systems, will be liable for retirement expenses for the superintendent. This expense was implemented by legislation passed in 2014.  The estimated cost to Yancey County Schools for our superintendent is $100,000.    Based on budget needs, adjustments were required.  Using fund balance as the payment source for yearly expenses like salaries is no longer feasible. 

Efforts are in place to establish a more stable “fund balance.” Discussions are on-going among Yancey County Schools Superintendent, Yancey County Board of Education, Yancey County Schools administrators, Yancey County Schools Finance and Human Resource Offices, Yancey County Commissioners, and others, to make this improvement.  Strategies to improve fund balance include examining retirements and resignations before rehiring to ensure that revenues from grants, federal, state, and local funding are adequate to pay for each and every position; restructuring and consolidating staff assignments when possible; and finding day-to-day expenses that can be reduced.

To be clear, the Yancey County Board of Education is deeply troubled by the inability to hire needed positions due to lack of funds.   Losing positions and services impacts our strong educational programs.  For example, middle and high school class-size increases may become necessary.  The ability to continue honors and Advanced Placement courses may be impacted as well.  In another example, a school nurse position eliminated for the 2018 – 19 school year due to lack of funds was reinstated when a one-year- grant completed by school nursing staff was received.  Yancey County Schools will continue to be proactive in applying for grants and in seeking increases from state and local sources to maintain the high-quality programs that meet the needs of students, families, and staff.



Storm Damage to Schools and Campuses Across the County

posted Sep 10, 2018, 12:39 PM by Xan Robinson

Storms across the region the past couple of weeks have caused numerous issues to Yancey County Schools.

A lightning strike to the scoreboard on the football field resulted in multiple issues at Cane River Middle School.  Superintendent Tony Tipton reports, “Not only did we have several computer desktops that were damaged at Cane River, but the fire alarm system had to be serviced by the installing company and two of the employee badge scanners that allow staff to enter the building were damaged and are having to be replaced.  And of course, the scoreboard on the football field – that could end up being a major expense to repair or replace.”

The football field area at East Yancey Middle School also experienced damage.  Pine trees lining the property behind the visitor bleachers lost several large branches that fell across and damaged the field fencing.  YCS maintenance crew removed the fallen limbs and sections of fence will need to be replaced.  Additionally, the primary telephone line was down at East Yancey for over a day after an afternoon storm.

While all schools in the county conduct monthly fire drills, Micaville Elementary Schools has experienced problems with their fire alarm system resulting in an unplanned evacuation of the staff and students. While an unplanned fire drill is not a bad thing, multiple false alarms overnight and into the school day can unnecessarily impact several emergency and fire department personnel, many of which are volunteers. 

Burnsville Elementary School staff and students experienced a complete “disconnect” from the internet after a storm that took the school’s computer network server down.  YCS Technology Department, working with an offsite network engineer, had to rebuild the server to restore computer access for the school.

South Toe Elementary School has had storm runoff, causing damage to the parking lot and washing the foundation at the playground fence, causing damage to the fence.

With the predicted forecast of Hurricane Florence later this week, YCS staff are taking precautionary measures to try and prevent additional damage to schools and school sites.

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