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Bladen County Schools approves next step in school consolidation

By: Charlotte Smith

The board of Bladen County Schools met on Monday, October 9, 2017 with a full agenda. Awards, attendance banners, introduction to AYUSA Foreign Exchange Student, and the consolidation proposal were just some of the topics covered.

Hi Wa “Eva,” the Knight family from Dublin and Ms. Connie Lawrence with AYUSA introduced the Foreign Exchange program.

“We are all so excited to welcome Eva to Dublin and give her a taste of American life,” said Connie Lawrence, Ayusa Community Representative.  “Ayusa is committed to building bridges of understanding between cultures, and we can’t wait for Eva  to experience all the wonderful things that Dublin has to offer.”

Class sizes was the next topic on the list of agenda items. Dr. Taylor explained the class size needs and announced North Carolina Department of Public Instruction moved the deadline for schools to come into compliance with DPI classroom size standards to October 30th, 2017. Taylor said he would keep the board informed on the class sizes before the deadline.

Sharon Penny explained the 2017-2018 budget. Penny admitted the schools were impacted more than estimated by the new public charter school, Emereau. While 175 was the estimated impact of students going to the new public charter school; the new charter school enrolled 289 this year according to the report.

Dr. Taylor added when he goes before the Bladen County Board of Commissioners in the spring to ask for more funding for Bladen County Schools he will make it clear when the commissioners allocate money for Bladen County Schools those funds go towards the public charter school students as well. If the commissioners do not allow more funding for Bladen County Schools it hinders public charter school students as well as Bladen County Schools.

Penny reported the fund balance did increase 800,000 dollars because of unfilled positions. She pointed out the extra funds were good, but the open positions was not a positive.

Before the board went into closed session they voted on taking the school consolidation proposal to the Bladen County Commissioners. The request will be to consolidate Plainview Elementary School and Tar Heel Middle School and build a new building. The cost will be about 22 to 25 million dollars according to Dr. Taylor. After some discussion about location and costs the board approved the motion with a unanimous vote.

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