Erin Zureick

Education, politics and observations from Sanford

School board agenda posted

The Lee County Board of Education posted this morning its agenda for tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting at the Lee County Government Center. There are several items of interest.

  • Superintendent Jeff Moss will give an update about the district’s allocation of state money, as well as talk about a planned partnership with Progress Energy to apply for an energy-savings grant.
  • Some items on the consent agenda include a contract for Hite Associates for the design plans of renovations and construction at Lee County High School. That contract would have to gain further approval from the Lee County Board of Commissioners. It would compensate the firm 7 percent of the cost of renovations and $600,000 for the new classroom building.
  • An agreement with Paxton/Patterson to expand the school district’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program to all three middle schools.

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

School board to adopt budget Tuesday

The Lee County Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday to close out end-of-the year finances. The school district is facing drastic cuts because of a state budget crisis, compounded by a 4 percent reduction in finances from the Lee County Board of Commissioners.

The board’s agenda, which is posted online, reveals that school board members will consider recommendations for reduction in force — or layoffs — and other proposals from Superintendent Jeff Moss.

Those include recommendations for how to achieve more than $973,000 worth of cuts. Moss’ recommendations, which must be approved by the board, include eliminating Graduation Ambassadors, reducing some banquet activities and lowering local support for Exceptional Children programs.

Stay tuned this week for lots more coverage on the blog and at the Herald Web site about these possible changes.

June 28, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , , , | Leave a comment

On the school board agenda

The Lee County Board of Education will meet 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Lee County Government Center on Hillcrest Drive. The agenda for the meeting can be viewed here.

About a dozen people are signed up to talk about the AIG (academically and intellectually gifted) program. I’m in the process of contacting some of those people to try to get some more specifics. My best guess is it’s all related to potential cuts AIG could face because of this year’s budget crisis Lee County Schools is facing. Hopefully I will have more information about that soon.

Also on the agenda:

  • A report from J. Glenn Edwards Elementary Principal Bonnie Almond about the effectiveness of implementing a uniform policy at the school this year.
  • A report from Superintendent Jeff Moss with budget updates as the N.C. House of Representatives is expected to unveil more proposals this week.
  • Approval of the school board’s 2009-10 calendar of events, which starts in July.

June 8, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , , , | Leave a comment

Some school board notes

There were a few odds and ends that did not make it into today’s Herald from last night’s Lee County Board of Education meeting.

Most notably, Superintendent Jeff Moss said the district must return an additional $267,100 because of more state budget cuts from Gov. Bev Perdue. Those reductions will come from Lee County Schools’ non-instructional support line, Moss said.

Lee County Health Director Howard Surface also gave an update on the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. So far, there have been no reported cases in the county. He said one of the biggest concerns is that a more potent version of the virus will show up in time for the fall/winter flu season. The Lee County Board of Health has established a committee to examine how to respond to the virus, Surface said.

The demolition of the foreign language building at Lee County High School also is going forward. Maintenance and Facilities Director Jerry Pittman said clearance has been given for asbestos removal, and the building should be gone by middle or end of next week.

The school board also approved a tweaked superintendent evaluation policy. The policy states that board members will evaluate the superintendent formally and informally throughout the year.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

Lee County Schools going more high tech

Lee County Schools is continuing to improve the way it communicates on its Web site.

Superintendent Jeff Moss has started doing a podcast on budget updates as that process continues throughout the spring and summer. (Download it here under Governor issues executive order — the latest podcast talks about employee furloughs mandated by Gov. Bev Perdue).

The latest agenda packets for the Lee County Board of Education also are now available on the Web site (see the agenda and individual items for Tuesday’s meeting here). The effort is part of a pledge by Moss to continue to make more information to the public easily accessible.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

Clarifying cutting teachers

I wanted to clarify a point in my story this week (“Budget Could Cut 40 teachers,” April 9) after reading some online comments. The story addresses the part of the N.C. Senate’s budget that would increase classroom size for K-12 by two students per classroom.

As an example, for students in grades kindergarten through three would see average classroom size increase from 18 students to 20 students. The Senate’s proposal would result in the loss of 40 teachers from Lee County Schools, Superintendent Jeff Moss said.

The point of confusion is how many students are already in K-3 classes. Most of these classes already have at least 20 students. However, the school district applies for waivers that allow it to have more students than the currently mandated 18 students.

The Senate budget would then increase the number of students in each classroom even more.

Note: The General Assembly still must present its budget priorities. The full extent of the statewide budget cuts likely won’t be known until the summer.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Listen to the superintendent’s budget podcast

Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss has created a podcast to discuss the school district’s ongoing budget process.

The Lee County Board of Education is aiming to get the same amount of local funding from the Lee County Board of Commissioners this year as last. The school district would see about $1.6 million less in state funding under a proposal from Gov. Bev Perdue. The General Assembly must ultimately decide that budget though.

The school board should vote during its April meeting on the local budget proposal.

Download Moss’ podcast here.

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Making a budget

The Lee County Board of Education had its first budget work session Tuesday, when Superintendent Jeff Moss unveiled his proposed local budget for 2009-10.

That budget calls for no increase in funding from the Lee County Board of Commissioners. Gov. Bev Perdue announced her budget priorities Tuesday. The district expects to have to cut about $1.6 million from its statewide budget. The school board has discretion of where to cut more than half of that money. And of course the state budget won’t be set until this summer by the N.C. General Assembly.

Locally, the district will save about $90,000 that it no longer has to pay for Lee County students who attend charter school Provisions Academy (which will close in June). However, that money will be offset by a legislated retirement rate and hospitalization increase.

Here is the timeline for the school district’s budget process, and see below for a breakdown of budget requests for expenditures (stay tuned for another post later about capital requests).

  • March 24: Budget work session school board (5 p.m. Heins Education Building)
  • April 22: Local budget requests due to county
  • July 1: County must act on school budget
  • Oct. 15: Board of Education must approve final budget resolution
View this document on Scribd

March 18, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Beaufort school board member resigns

A long-time member of the Beaufort County Board of Education has resigned, citing politics involved with failing to renew Superintendent Jeff Moss’ contract, according to The Washington Daily News.

Moss will start as Lee County Schools’ superintendent Jan. 20.

John W. White Jr. announced his resignation last week from the Beaufort County Board of Education after 14 years at the post. He made the announcement via a letter sent to fellow board members and The Daily News.

White wrote: “I feel that I can no longer serve in an atmosphere where I perceive that the welfare and the education of our children are secondary to politics and personal agendas.”

I interviewed White for a story about Moss about a week before White decided to step down. At the time, he told me (off the record) he was considering resignation as an option for similar reasons that he stated publicly.

Moss still had time on his contract, but some school board members thought renewing it would show him the board was behind him enough to get him to stay on.

White told The Daily News he could not go into further details because of confidentiality considerations.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Education | , , , | Leave a comment

Reporting the Moss story

If you read Sunday’s Herald, then you probably saw the story I wrote about the decision to hire Jeff Moss as Lee County Schools next superintendent.  Moss will begin his new position on Jan. 20 after leaving Beaufort County Schools,where he has served as superintendent since 2004.

The reporting in the article draws heavily on administrative sources. In that respect, I believe the story paints an accurate portrait of what it is like to work with Moss as a fellow administrator and the big-picture questions of what his leadership style is and how he prioritizes his goals.

I have heard a few comments from comments, messages and phone calls wondering what it is like to work with Moss if you are a principal or teacher. Since the vast majority of people  who will work with Moss will be in this category, that is a perfectly valid question. It’s one I am also working on getting a better answer to. Because there are many more school employees in these positions, it will take a longer time and more reporting to ensure that an accurate, representative view is presented.

This is definitely something on everyone’s minds, and we won’t forget the story now that Moss has been chosen. If there are questions you have or leads you would like to see pursued, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.

December 23, 2008 Posted by | Education | , , | Leave a comment