Lincolnton High School appears likely to get extensive repairs to its track that could bring an end to busing athletes to other schools.
Lincoln County Board of Education members took action to approve a bid on track repairs during a committee meeting on Monday.
Though board member Clayton Mullis cast a sole dissenting vote against the $300,000 bid to revamp the track, he said he does agree with other board members that repairs are needed; his issue lies with how much will be spent when there are other educational needs in the county, he told the Times-News afterward.
However, board members Bob Silver and Ed Hatley were vocal about the need for the renovation and for the school to have a crack-free and usable track.
Busing the track team to other schools puts those students at a disadvantage and accrues unnecessary costs for transportation, Silver said.
Jeff Cloninger, track coach at LHS, verified Thursday that the school hasn’t been able to host meets for the last two seasons.
Seniors weren’t able to attend home events during their last year due to the large cracks that could potentially be dangerous to the runners.
“The cracks are huge; thank goodness this is finally happening,” Cloninger said.
LHS is also the central site for the Lincoln County Special Olympics, which would have to be moved to a new location if the track doesn’t get repaired, LHS Principal Tony Worley said.
Executive Director of Facilities for Lincoln County Schools Darrell Gettys presented the committee with the layout of what the new track will look like. The group agreed to present the motion to the full school board at next month’s meeting, despite Mullis’ objection.
“The next question is how we’re going to fund this project,” Gettys said to the group.
He handed out a proposed construction budget that was a “snapshot” of where costs stood as of May 1 for projects at local schools.
The current budget allotted a substantially higher amount of funding for nearly every school on the list compared to the May estimates, leaving some wiggle room for additional projects to be completed.
Don’t get too spend-happy though, Gettys warned, some projects haven’t been accounted for and additional costs may arise.
The estimated cost of planned school construction in the county is about $6.2 million. The committee members said they were impressed with Gettys’ efforts in cost-savings for the upcoming school year.
The second half of Monday’s committee meetings belonged to Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Elaine Boysworth and the Curriculum Committee, whose news about the increased number of assessments local students will see in the upcoming school year seemed to shift the members’ moods.
School Board Vice-Chair Candy Burgin said she thinks more tests will hurt students more than help them, adding more stress to their piles this year.
Boysworth showed a presentation on the New Accountability Model, designed to get information on proficiency and growth of schools and their students. The Model will focus on accountability of schools and the district. The tests students will take that are geared toward evaluating teachers.
The changes are the result of state standards and the U.S. Department of Education and the Elementary Secondary Education Act flexibility waiver that, school officials hope, will get students from just being proficient to college ready, Boysworth said.
The flexibility being offered by the waiver to State Educational Agencies (SEA) and their local agencies (LEA) in the 2012-2013 school year is aimed at improving the learning experience for the student and providing better instructors for them as well.
The model will assess a schools performance over time by looking at three factors — performance composite, the number of students testing above or at the state proficiency level, academic growth and annual objectives, or goals, schools set and if they are met. More tests and stipulations on those assessments will be used as tools to determine if those three factors are satisfied.
Other components that may surprise students and parents — the ACT may become the official high school test, standing alone without the SATs. Students in third through eighth grades will not be allowed to use their calculators in certain sections of math assessments; students will be required to show their work on those problems.
Specifics are still being discussed.