School districts across the state are waiting to see if North Carolina lawmakers will cease to provide funding for as many as 8,500 teacher assistant positions during the next two years.
While the House budget plan proposes to maintain current funding levels for teacher assistants, the Senate proposes to cut teacher assistants, using those funds to pay for teachers to reduce class sizes in lower grades. Under the Senate plan, the equivalent of 5,300 teacher assistant salaries would be cut state-wide this year with an additional 3,200 teacher assistants cut next year.
“It seems like every summer we are in the same place, worrying if the General Assembly will eliminate more teacher assistant positions,” said Yancey County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton.
At the school board meeting on July 6th the Yancey County School Board approved a recommendation by Superintendent Tipton for a Reduction In Force (RIF) Plan. This plan is developed in the event the final budget from the state does eliminate teacher assistant positions.
As stated by School Board Chair Mr. Mike Orr, “While no one wants to eliminate any positions, we believe it is prudent to take steps to be prepared in the event teacher assistant funding is cut.”
School Board Vice-Chair Mr. Bill Whiteside agreed, quoting Benjamin Franklin, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Whiteside continued, “Because of the uncertainty of when the General Assembly will release a budget, we should be ready to take action if needed instead of waiting and having to hurriedly design a plan.”
The RIF Plan that was approved follows the same guidelines the school system used two years ago when it was necessary to reduce the number of teacher assistant positions because of a reduction in state funding.
Yancey County School Board Policy #7921 calls for the superintendent to first reduce staff through normal attrition. As of now, through retirements and other factors, Yancey County Schools will begin the next school year with 5 fewer teacher assistants in the elementary schools than when school ended on June 12th.
If it does become necessary to use the RIF plan, the superintendent must use the following criteria when eliminating positions: 1) job performance, 2) degrees, licenses, and special qualifications, 3) seniority, and 4) other criteria determined to be relevant.
Yancey County Schools encourages all teacher assistants, as well as anyone interested in maintaining teacher assistants in the classroom, to continue to watch and monitor news coming out of Raleigh.
School board member Mr. Norb McKinney noted, “Yancey County has protected the teacher assistant positions better than most school systems around us by funding the eliminated positions over the last few years out of our savings or fund balance.”
Superintendent Tipton added, “We have continued to fund these positions using our fund balance because we believe it is better to have two caring adults in the early grades than just one caring adult. However, paying teacher assistant salaries out of savings cannot continue. Just as with any budget relying on your savings account to pay monthly bills cannot be sustained. Sooner or later you will run out of money and cannot pay for any of your bills.”
North Carolina has traditionally provided funds to school districts to pay for driver’s education. However, at this time, lawmakers are undecided on whether or not they will continue to fund this program.
This uncertainty has left school systems and students wondering who will pay for the required training. Because guaranteed state funding ran out when the 2014-15 fiscal year ended June 30, many school systems across the state have placed a halt to all driver’s education classes until the question of funding is answered by the state legislature.
Despite this uncertainty in funding, the Yancey County School Board has decided to allow students in the current summer program to complete the full program, earning the necessary requirements to obtain their licenses. If the state’s final budget does not include driver education funding then Yancey County Schools will have to cover the cost of these students completing their driving requirements, estimated at around $4,000. Because the students began the program under last year’s funding the board has agreed to allow the students to complete the training over the summer. According to Superintendent Tony Tipton, “We believe it is only fair to allow this group of students to continue and complete their driver’s education requirements, these students should not be punished because the state legislature has not decided what to do with driver’s education.
The Senate and House have approved a temporary budget to run the state government until Aug. 14th. However, the temporary budget does not include money to fund driver’s education.
The two legislative bodies are far apart on how to fund drivers’ education. The current House budget would continue state funding for driver’s ed. while the Senate budget ends the funding.
Currently the law states that school system will charge parents up to $65 to help off-set the cost for each student to take the training. School systems across the state contract with an outside company to oversee and conduct the driver’s education program. This includes the workbook session and the actual driving part of the program. The two big questions students, parents, and the school systems have for the legislature is who will pay for driver’s ed. and will driver’s education still be required to obtain a drivers license before the age of 18 if it is not funded?
Yancey County Schools will not schedule future classes until the NC General Assembly decides the future of funding for driver’s education.
Historically, Yancey County students have been in school on Memorial Day. For decades YCS has implemented the Memorial Day holiday during the week of “Spring Break,” to help students and staff benefit from a full week off in the spring.
Recent questions from the public have been asked about observing Memorial Day as we do for other days in the school calendar such as Veterans Day and Martin Luther King Day. Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton and the School Board have heard from various groups and parents regarding this topic. In response, the Board has instructed Superintendent Tipton to observe the Memorial Day Holiday on the designated day.
“In the past, Memorial Day has typically fallen within the last two weeks of school which is testing season, making it very difficult to be out of school,” said Superintendent Tipton. “However, a couple of years ago when the state mandated that we begin school two weeks later than we have in the past, it forced us to extend the school year deeper into June and it has made the Memorial Day Holiday a topic of discussion.”
It is the goal of YCS to maintain a balance in what we’ve heard from parents in protecting the week of Spring Break as well as now observing Memorial Day. During the winter months, the school calendar changes often. The current 2015-16 school calendar shows the last day of school as May 23rd. However, this date will certainly change if we have a typical mountain winter and the last day of school is pushed past the Memorial Day holiday.
School Board Vice-Chair Bill Whiteside stated, "With thoughtful and insightful deliberations with the YCS leadership team, local veterans and parents, I am happy that we are able to close our schools for the Memorial Holiday as well as preserve Spring Break for family vacations. We thought it was important not to have school on this patriotic holiday that is preserved for the honor and memory of our fallen military personnel."
The co-chairs of the local Yancey County NC Pre K Committee (local board chair of the Smart Start agency, Ms. Judy Stevens, and the Yancey County Schools’ Superintendent, Dr. Tony Tipton) will be holding a meeting with the committee and other interested stakeholders in order to discuss the status of the 2015-2016 NC Pre-K Plan and Contract for the county. The meeting will be held Thursday, June 11, 2015, at 3:00 pm at the Yancey County Schools Central Office.
May 27, 2015
N O T I C E
Regarding: Request for Quote
Burnsville Elementary School Grounds Maintenance
Deadline for Quote: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 – 3:00 p.m.
Minimum Requirements: Full Liability & Workman’s Comp Insurance
Labor & Equipment
Contract Time Frame: July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016
May 27, 2015
Request for Service Quote
The Yancey County Board of Education is seeking quotes for Ground Maintenance at Burnsville Elementary School.
Contract term will run July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.
Qualified bidders must provide / maintain the following:
o Provide ways and means to complete full scope of work
o Maintain full General Liability and Workman’s Compensation Insurance
during the full course of the contract
o Maintain a Pesticide License during the full course of the contract
o Horticulture certificate
o Employ identifiable uniformed workers with prior background check
Services to be completed:
o 31 mows of all grounds- weekly basis (basically April- November)
(This includes entire campus including YCLA, softball field, and all playground areas)
o Edging of beds
o Weed eating of all banks- biweekly
(This includes front bank, back bank of BES campus to tree line /gazebo, and YCLA bank)
o Spraying of all high weed areas including beds with plants
Please provide Optional Pricing for additional items as shown below –Itemize and show separate amount from base bid:
o Mulch for all beds, trees, floral areas across the campus
o Basic fertilize of grounds
o Basic tree/bush trimming- no climbing trees
Both parties have the option to terminate contractual agreement with 30 day written notice.
Payment will be provided over 12 months with equal payments each month.
The Yancey County Board of Education reserves the right to refuse any and all quotes.
The Yancey County Board of Education also reserves the right to select the lowest quote from a reputable contractor.
Contact Person – Dr. Barbara Tipton, Principal
Burnsville Elementary School
395 Burnsville School Road
Burnsville, NC 28714
Quotes may be hand-delivered to:
Dr. Barbara Tipton
395 Burnsville School Road
Yancey County Schools Central Office
100 School Circle
Chris Howell, Maintenance Director
YCS Maintenance Department
205 McIntosh Street
Yancey County Schools
100 School Circle, Burnsville, NC 28714
Clearly labeled: BN GROUNDS QUOTE
After June 30, 2015, North Carolina will no longer fund Driver Education for public, private, home or charter schools, yet, Driver Education will still remain a requirement for anyone under age eighteen to get a permit or license.
Funded since 1977 with funds from the Highway Trust Fund, NC Legislatures have opted to make Driver Education funding a non-recurring expense as of June 30, 2015. Three dollars of the Highway Trust Fund came from each license plate sold in North Carolina. The fee was levied in 1977 to pay for driver education and this amount will remain a part of license plate fees, however, it will not be funding teen driver education.
Driver Education has been a right-of-passage for generations of teen drivers in North Carolina. With funding eliminated, each school system will still be required by North Carolina General Statute to continue to offer Driver Education and under current law, can charge a student up to $65.00. The local system then must make up the difference “with available funds”. Most school systems across the state believe the cost to the school could be $200 or more per student.
North Carolina has a graduated licensure program which requires 16 and 17 year olds to complete Driver Education to get a license. No training is required once they turn 18 years old. Lee Roy Ledford, owner of Mountain Professionals, the Bakersville-based driving school that contracts with Yancey County Schools as well as eight other school systems across Western North Carolina, states “Without professionally-trained driving experience, we believe the number of traffic incidents and fatalities among teens will skyrocket as well as increase car insurance rates across the board.” Ledford adds, “Driving is no longer a luxury in today’s world, it is a necessity. Teaching teenagers how to drive is more complex than it was 30 or 40 years ago.”
Yancey County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton stated, “We are carefully watching a bill that has been filed in Raleigh that would restore this funding. We hope there is enough support for the bill to pass and fund Driver Education. This is simply one more financial blow to public school systems and the parents of students in North Carolina.”
When school begins this August, all incoming Kindergartners across the state who enroll in a North Carolina Public School will be given the new Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA). The KEA is designed to give teachers a better understanding of the developmental status of each student’s early childhood school readiness.
In 2011, the NC General Assembly passed the Excellent Public Schools Act, and as part of that legislation the Read to Achieve Program was initiated. This program, in its second year of implementation, sets third grade reading standards for all students as well as assigns individual schools A-F grades on the NC School Report Cards that were released in February of this year.
The state law requires that all students entering kindergarten must be screened in early language, literacy, and math skills within the first 60 days of enrollment. The KEA is based on language, cognitive ability, motivation in learning, physical well-being, motor skill development, and social/emotional development. Ultimately, this data is attempting to give the teacher a picture of the “whole child” as they enter public school.
The General Assembly Act will require Yancey County Schools to add the KEA in addition to the existing K-3 mCLASS Reading 3D Assessment and the K-2 Math Assessments. The impact on classroom time and instruction has yet to be determined. Yancey County Schools will hold the annual Kindergarten Registration Kickoff on Thursday, April 16th at the Town Center beginning at 12:00 noon and lasting until 3:00pm. Then from 1:00 to 6:00 pm, registration will be held at all YCS elementary schools. Parents must register their child in the district in which they live.
Warmer weather last week and the time change over the weekend are reminders that spring is just around the corner. While spring will certainly be a welcome change, the results of the harsh weather since Christmas must still be addressed on the Yancey County Schools calendar. NCGS 115c-84.2, the state law on school calendars, states that the closing date for students shall be no later than the Friday closest to June 11. This statute also states that public school calendars must have a maximum of 185 days OR a minimum of 1,025 instructional hours.
In order to meet the requirements of this statute and provide the best possible education for the students of Yancey County, this current school year began with extended instructional time each day. (This extended time was introduced last March and worked well to meet requirements for last year’s school calendar.) This extension of instructional time each day has allowed YCS to “bank” hours, assuring our students receive the full 1,025 hours required in NCGS 115c-84.2. While YCS has traditionally counted the number of days students attend school, it is important for parents to understand that the number of hours students are in school is now what is used to meet state law. When approved by the School Board last March, the 2014-15 YCS school calendar provided 180 days / 1,106.25 instructional hours for students – “banking” over 80 extra hours.
The unprecedented cold weather, snow, and unsafe road conditions in January and February have resulted in a great deal of lost school time. As of March 4th, YCS has had a total number of 29 days impacted by inclement weather. Of those 29 days, 19 have resulted in school closures. With 10 days built into the original 2014-15 school calendar to allow for bad weather, the loss of 19 days has forced school administration to use “No Days”. Each “No Day” extends the school year one day further into June.
With so many days lost, many are asking “What about Saturday School?” and “Will we lose our Spring Break?” Superintendent Tony Tipton said, “Because we have a bank of instructional hours, it is not necessary at this time, to consider having to use Spring Break days - but, we are making Good Friday a full day of school now (originally a half-day for staff and students). Recovering this half-day of time is the equivalent of one Saturday School.”
Regarding Saturday School, Tipton stated, “We always want to get the best value out of our instructional time with students and Saturday school attendance is typically very low. If March and April bring spring snowstorms as we’ve seen in the past and Saturday school or the loss of a couple of day of Spring Break does become a reality for YCS, we ask for patience and support from our parents, staff and students as we deal with this ever-changing calendar.” Tipton added, “I apologize for not giving a more definitive answer about Spring Break, graduation, and the last of school. Once we see how the weather impacts the calendar through March, we will be able to set graduation and the last day of school in early April.”
Yancey County Schools Kindergarten Registration Kick-off to be held April 16, 2015, from 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. at the Burnsville Town Center
Either before or after registering your child for Kindergarten on April 16th, come join us for a fun-filled afternoon at the Burnsville Town Center, 12:00 - 3:00. Activities scheduled are Police Department completing fingerprint kits; police car and firetruck; school bus safety activities, Buster the Bus, a school bus tour; face painting along with balloons, games with Yancey County Schools PE staff; Learning Centers, art activities, and much more. Vision screenings will also be on hand.
Yancey County Schools Kindergarten Registration to be Held
April 16, 2016 from 1:00 – 6:00 P. M.
Registration for all children who will be entering kindergarten for the 2015-16 school year will be held in each Yancey County elementary school on Thursday, April 16, 2015, from 1:00 – 6:00 P. M.
The parent or guardian must bring the following documents to registration:
Child’s birth certificate (certified copy preferred; mother’s copy acceptable)
Child’s social security number and Medicaid ID number (if applicable)
Student residence verification(two items of verification – see below)
The NC Kindergarten Health Assessment Report along with the immunization record signed by doctor/certified nurse practitioner are required for enrollment. If possible, bring the completed Health Assessment Report with you to registration. The NC Kindergarten Health Assessment Report is available on line, from health care providers, and at local elementary schools.
Any child entering kindergarten during the 2015-16 school year must be five (5) years of age on or before August 31. The current statute specifies a single entry age for enrollment in a public school and designates kindergarten as the initial point of entry into the system.
Certified copies of your child’s birth certificate can be obtained from the Yancey County Register of Deeds for child born in a North Carolina county.
All kindergarten children must comply with the state immunization guidelines and Health Assessment Law. North Carolina General Statute 130A – 441 requires children entering school to have both the kindergarten health assessment form and their immunization records completed and up-to-date by the first day of school. Parents must make sure the information recorded on the child’s immunization/health record is signed by a doctor or certified nurse practitioner or registered nurse who meets the North Carolina Division of Health Standards. This form can be downloaded on the Yancey County Schools website.The form is also available at most health care providers and will be available on Kindergarten registration day, April 16th. For information or questions regarding the immunizations and health assessments, please contact the school or Yvonne Hardin, RN, School Nurse, at 828/675-4161. Parents or guardians who are unable to bring the required immunization records and health assessments records to the kindergarten teacher before school is out this year should wait until school opens in the fall to bring these records. During the summer, buildings are being cleaned and materials may be misplaced.
Student residence verification must be submitted to the school when registering for kindergarten or when enrolling your child in Yancey County Schools for the first time. The verification of address must be accompanied by any two of the following items:
Parents requesting student transfer must first register the child in the school district in which the child resides. Transfer requests are available online. The transfer request form must be completed by the parent, signed for approval by the principal of the school requested and the principal of the school from which the student is transferring, then submitted to the YCS Board of Education for approval. A Request for Transfer can be denied by the principal of either school or by the YCS Board of Education.
For questions regarding general registration information contact your child’s school. Forms and general information are also available on the Yancey County Schools website.
Last week, Yancey County Schools was informed that Bald Creek Elementary School has been awarded an $80,000 NC Title I Reward School Grant. Bald Creek Elementary has been named a NC Title I Reward School for the 2013-14 school year, a distinction given to the Top 10% of NC Title I Schools for sustained academic performance and/or student growth. Within that group of approximately 120 schools, the top 10% of the Reward Schools became eligible for the NC Title I Reward School Grants based on a school portfolio submitted to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Federal Programs Office in October. Furthermore, the portfolio, along with an onsite interview from an NCDPI Federal Programs team, will be used to select North Carolina’s two Title I Distinguished Schools to represent the state at the National Title I Conference held later this year. Bald Creek is still awaiting to hear the outcome of that selection process.
Principal Sherry Robinson was obviously ecstatic over the announcement. “This grant is representative of the hard work and dedication of the faculty, staff, and students of Bald Creek Elementary School. We will use this grant to continue providing the best instruction each day in hopes of always improving as a school,” said Robinson. “We are proud of Bald Creek’s accomplishments this past year, and we certainly hope that we can see the effects of this grant five to seven years down the road as they continue to strive towards excellence,” said Dr. Tony Tipton, Superintendent of Yancey County Schools. The school must now develop a plan to use the grant to continue to provide high quality instruction to the students and professional development to the faculty and staff over the next 27 months.