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WAKE COUNTY — Following last week’s vote by Wake County citizens to raise taxes in order to fund a $810 million school bond, the Wake County Board of Education opened their Tuesday public meeting with an air of gratitude and relief.
Chairman Keith Sutton began the meeting thanking the voters for passing the bond saying, “on behalf of the students, teachers, faculty and staff and this board, we are grateful for your support and trust in us for that vote.”
Immediately following Sutton’s remarks, Superintendent Dr. Jim Merrill laid out a timetable for acquiring and implementing the bond’s funds.
While the money will not be available until next year, Merrill said that since the Wake County government has funds in hand from the previous bond, the district would be able to “jump start this program sooner.”
Public thoughts on walking out
One of the public commenters, Larry Nilles, president of the Wake County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), spoke on the proposed Nov. 4 N.C. Teacher Walkout.
After decrying low pay and the 2013 session of the General Assembly, Nilles informed the board that the Wake NCAE board of directors proposed that Wake County educators “turn the November 4 walk out into a walk in.”
In other words, instead of not reporting to work, educators should “draw positive attention to [their] presence in school that day.”
The Nov. 4 N.C. Teacher Walkout is a grassroots movement that began in Wilmington and gained attention through social media, largely in response to the budget and other changes made by the General Assembly this summer.
Location, location, location
The first item of business was extending the contract through the current fiscal year for Alves Educational Consultants Group. The Group is the provider for “application software and related support services to the WCPSS Office of Student Assignment.”
In addition to the extension, a “change order” was requested in the amount of $190,000. This was to cover the contract extension through June 30, 2014.
Following the vote of approval, the board was presented an update to an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) with the City of Raleigh and Wake County that would result in the development and construction of Abbotts Creek Elementary School and Abbotts Creek Park.
Since entering the ILA with the city and the county in 2010, terms and conditions of an acquisitions and development agreement (ADA) have been reached between the three entities.
First, the board will lease the school property from the county at $10 per year, negotiated separately.
Secondly, the board will contribute up to $1.1 million toward construction of the school, which will be accompanied by funds from the city.
The board approved the motion to accept the ADA with no discussion or debate.
The law won
The board heard the first reading of the semi-controversial policy 6605 – Investigations and Arrests by Law Enforcement.
This new policy covers law enforcement’s interaction with school personnel and students in non-school related incidents, as well as in non-emergencies.
In response to some questions from constituents, board member Tom Benton said the board has “no intent to impede the work of law-enforcement agencies in an emergency situation.”
With no further debate, the policy passed its first reading unanimously.
Memorandum of agreement
The board heard two proposed memorandums of agreement (MOA) that pertained to WCPSS students.
The first was for a partnership with St. Augustine’s University to host a young men’s and women’s leadership academy, the second was with Wake
Technical Community College to provide a career and technical high school.
Both MOA passed with some discussion.