Board Briefing-December 6, 2018

Buncombe County Schools
BCS Board Briefing

Owen High's Barborshop Quartet: Fourmata.
Owen High School's Barborshop Quartet: Fourmata.

Photos from this meeting are available on Google Drive.
A video recording of this meeting is available on YouTube.

Superintendent's Comments 

Winter Weather While I won’t predict snowfall amounts for this upcoming weekend, I thought it might be a good time to review our decision and communication process as well as to remind everyone the importance of making sure schools have your most current contact information. When conditions allow, we try to make our district closing decisions the afternoon or evening prior to the school day ahead.

Over the past few years, those night before decisions have been few and far between and usually end up being the mornings of the weather event. On these days, the process begins at 4:00 a.m. when Tommy Hollingsworth, a veteran in our Transportation Department reports to work and begins contacting DOT, Highway Patrol, and Emergency Management for road updates. All the while, Tommy is also monitoring local weather reports and radar.

Between 4:15 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. staff are dispersed throughout the county for road checks in each district. As all this information is accumulated, every effort is made to make school closure or delay decisions prior to 5:30 a.m. when a handful of buses begin to leave their campuses for long runs.

By 6:45 a.m. all 252 of our yellow buses are on the road picking up students. If Mother Nature surprises us with ice or snow over the next hour (which it did in parts of North Buncombe on November 28) we are definitely in for a long morning.

Once a decision to delay or close is made, Transportation staff immediately notifies our local media outlets. Simultaneously Stacia Harris and the Communications team initiates emails and auto calls to principals, employees and parents along with posting the decision on our district web page, district app, and social media sites. You may be interested in knowing that it takes around 35 minutes total from start to finish to complete all the auto calls to parents. Social media posts, emails, app push notifications, and texts are made within the first five minutes of a decision.

When bad weather occurs after school is in session and we are forced to dismiss earlier than normal, there are multiple timeline issues we have to consider. One of those involves bringing students from the six satellite schools to their home districts. This step takes around one hour to complete. Likewise, there is the 35-minute block of time to contact parents by phone that our notification system requires. With all such decisions, we have to consider the types of drivers and vehicles that will be on the road ranging from bus drivers and school buses (which are one of the safest vehicles on the road) to students in personal vehicles (often inexperienced drivers) to parents and staff.

Finally, when winter weather hits, one of the departments that oftentimes plays the role of unsung hero is our Maintenance staff. Without them, driveways and parking lots on our school campuses would remain hazardous for travel. Likewise, without their intervention, power outages, heating failures, and frozen water pipes can keep building operations highly limited. In these times, we can’t thank them enough for their dedication and hard work.

Dedication Ceremony I am excited to announce that Community High School will be holding a dedication ceremony open to the public on Sunday, December 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The new addition will include new classrooms and labs as well as administrative office spaces along with a brand new media center. Mr. Bill Murdock with Eblen Charities will be the primary speaker at the event. Guided tours of both the new facility, as well as the existing building built in 1926, will take place before and after the ceremony.

Our recognitions included:
  • • Math Teachers of the Year: Elliot Lunsford, Owen High School & Ashley Pace, Enka Middle School
    •  Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award: Ed Ensley, Cane Creek Middle School

•  Budget Amendment #1
•  2018-2020 School Improvement Plans
•  Approval of Low Performing School Plans 
•  Avery's Creek Elementary Arts Addition - Change Order
•  C.A. Erwin High School: Use of Capital Outlay Athletic Allotment

•  Minutes: November 1, 2018 – Regular Meeting Open Session
•  Personnel Report
•  Facsimile Signature Stamp for the Board Chair
   Policy 5025 – Prohibition of Drugs and Alcohol

•  Finance Reports
•  Notification of Informal Construction & Repair Projects and Change Orders

•  The next Board of Education Regular Meeting will be held on January 10, 2019, with Work Session Updates, dinner, and Closed Session beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Executive Conference Room and the Open Session beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Minitorium at 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC  28806.

Dr. Tony Baldwin

Ann B. Franklin
Madam Chair

Stacia M. Harris
Director of Communications

BCS Logo

175 Bingham Road, Asheville NC 28806
(828) 350-2261

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