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Board to weigh future of Asbury School

Staff Writer

What’s next for Asbury Alternative School will be discussed tonight at the Lincoln County Board of Education meeting, as school board members decide how to improve the learning environment for students and whether or not that means renovating the facility.
Last month, Superintendent Sherry Hoyle met with focus groups to determine where the needs are and how to better the school for students, parents and faculty. The meetings concluded with ideas of creating additional rooms for Exceptional Children classes, a multi-purpose room, a science lab, an area for guidance and dining and additional options for electives at the alternative school. Hoyle reported back to the county Board of Education Building and Site committee in September — a presentation that resulted in mixed feelings and a divided vote among the committee and school officials who were in attendance.
Committee Chair Tommy Houser seemed taken aback after hearing the $1.5 million estimate to complete the projects and wanted to know more about the institution before spending that amount of money. Committee member Ed Hatley and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Matt Stover spoke about their experiences at Asbury Alternative, and commended the work the staff has done to getting students back on track to re-enter their previous high school.
Based on her research, Hoyle assured Houser and the rest of the attendees of the positive things happening there, including a possible decrease in the drop-out rate of students who have attended the school and later-went back to their high schools.
Budget options were also distributed for discussion, comparing systems that will cover school expenses accrued each school year, such as teaching positions and staff salaries.
School Board Vice-Chair Candy Burgin seemed to have reservations about committing to the dollars and wondered where the allotted amount would go, if it isn’t used at Asbury.
The bond funding the revamp spells out that the school has $2.4 million available for projects and that it would be used for such, and if it isn’t, the public has a right to know why, Executive Director of Facilities Darrell Gettys responded.
Hatley and Houser were in favor of moving forward with getting bids and furthering the process, while Clayton Mullis cast the sole dissenting vote — not overly impressed with test scores and wanting to wait and see how successful the school is before the money is spent there.
To continue moving forward, or not, and the approval of preliminary drawings and cost analysis will be decided by the school board tonight.
Other items on the agenda:
The recommendation of the Board of Education Policy Committee to approve the state change of the evaluation of student progress will be discussed. Previously, End of Course (EOC) exams were the only tests students were unable to be exempt from. Now, Measures of Student Learning (MSLs) will be added to the non-exempt list, too; a test that measures teacher effectiveness.
Board of Director openings, updates on the annual conference and voting delegates of the N.C. School Boards Association will be presented.
Tonight’s meeting is open to the public and will start at 6:30 p.m. at the school board office, 353 N. Generals Blvd.

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