Vance school board to hold first meeting of academic year

Aug. 09, 2014 @ 04:00 PM

The Vance County Board of Education will carry out its first meeting for the new school year Monday.

Among topics discussed will be teacher turnover, with personnel committee recommendations coming to the board for 13 new positions — most replacing educators who have resigned.

During the committee meeting Aug. 5, board members and staff discussed ways to change the district’s employment culture.

Human resources executive director Wil McLean said members proposed providing more support for teachers after they are hired and conducting different types of training catered specifically for each school.

“We want to really try to get at why these teachers are leaving and what we can do about it,” he said.

Superintendent Ronald Gregory said the district has had about a 20 to 25 percent attrition rate for awhile, requiring them to start from scratch each year, training teachers to effectively educate students.

Some teachers will return to work Monday following a weeklong training session on child poverty, in which many of the 200 educators who participated were recent hires.

McLean said a teacher retention plan would be an on-going discussion, potentially including county commissioners on items such as pay.

Also during the meeting, the board is scheduled to consider a new bid for lunchroom produce.

Next year, all students attending Vance County Schools will receive free meals through the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal program administered under the Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act.

The board initially awarded the lowest bidder, R&H Produce, to supply Vance County Schools next year.

The company was investigated by the North Carolina Child Nutrition Procurement Alliance board of directors — a division of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Board of Education which ensures high quality, reasonably priced food and supplies for federally-funded child nutrition programs — which found inconsistencies in its submitted documents.

Staff will recommend the board disqualify the R&H Produce bid and approve the next highest of about $96,000, which was submitted by Foster Caviness Produce Co. The difference in the two is about $10,000.

The board will also discuss dates for a board retreat — the first in several years.

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.