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Schools add to graduation requirements

 

AMANDA SEBASTIANO

Staff Writer

 

Lincoln County Schools are increasing social studies requirements for students to graduate.

Freshmen beginning high school this fall, will be required to take four social studies courses to graduate rather than three, following a Board of Education decision on Wednesday.

In another change, they will also have a Differential Diploma option.

A committee appointed by the superintendent will make decisions on situation-specific cases that would otherwise prevent students from graduating with their class.

Sophomores will also notice a change — there will no longer be a writing assessment required for 10th-graders to progress to the junior level.

Board members Wednesday also gave final approval to a new attendance policy.

Students will be allowed to miss up to eight days, excused or not, rather than six. There will no longer be an option available to make up the credit before or after school however, with the addition of two days.

The principal at each school in the county will appoint a committee for appeals of extenuating circumstances to be considered.

In other action Wednesday:

  • Board members approved a 2012-2013 interim budget resolution, which estimates an allotted $118,313,208 to stand in until a budget has been determined by July 1.
  • Vice-Chairman Candy Burgin wanted assurance that this budget didn’t reflect any more position cuts, which Assistant Superintendent for Business Steve Zickefoose confirmed.
  • Building and Site Committee members discussed projects at Asbury Alternative School with the full board. A multipurpose room and a new science lab were a few of the potential changes the campus may be awarded, after Hoyle and her team do some fieldwork.
  • The majority of the board favored this action. However, Clayton Mullis disagreed, stressing the importance of what’s being taught over the condition of the learning environment.
  • Members voted to explore the instructional programs at the school first before deciding whether any action will be taken.
  • The board met in closed session to evaluate Superintendent Sherry Hoyle’s performance.
  • “We came to a consensus that her performance was more than we had expected,” Board Chair Ed Hatley told the Times-News Thursday. “We’ll have another closed-session discussion at July’s meeting where next year’s goals will be discussed.”
  • The board agreed on an 10-cent increase in school lunches for this fall, phasing in a sharper increase over several years.
  • The 2012-2013 school calendar was approved, with one alteration. The last day of school will be a half-day next school year.
  • The June 18 board committee meeting will be pushed back to June 25, in hopes of having more answers from the state by that time about funding for the upcoming year.
  • The board proposed a resolution supporting intervention litigation between N.C. Learns, Inc. and the State Board of Education. N.C. Learns wants a “virtual charter school” that would be recognized as a regular charter school starting in August.
  • Tough economic times for educational funding in the county, and low graduation rates for students enrolled in online charter schools in other states were a few of the reasons cited for the decision.
  • The majority of the board voiced opposition to creating a state virtual charter school, but Mullis dissented and voted against the resolution.
  • Funding was approved for the Career and Technical Education 2012-2013 Local Plan for state and federal funding.

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