ELIZABETHTOWN — The planned retreat by the Bladen County Board of Education was shortcurcuited Tuesday afternoon by a two-hour closed session, and not much was revealed as to that portion of the meeting.
Upon their return, Supt. Robert Taylor presented a chart for the board’s perusal detailing the organization of the district office.
“This is the type of work required by the federal government,” said Taylor. “We have to look at the resources we have and how we can fulfill our functions.”
He solicited input from the board regarding the proposed organization, but received none.
Taylor informed the board that he had been looking closely at Robert Heavenridge’s responsibilities, stating that Heavenridge had been dealing with maintenance issues since the maintenance director position had been vacated. He added that the finance department was also without various personnel, an issue that would be addressed at next month’s meeting.
Taylor also informed the board the recent subtraction of the driver’s education program from the district responsibilities had benefited the system.
“It required a lot of work,” said Taylor. “We’ve contracted it out now with Jordan Driving School, and there’s not a lot of work that the district office has to do now.”
He added that, previously, because funding came with ninth-graders, they had been given preference over eighth-graders in obtaining spots in the program. Now that the services have been contracted, students will be placed based on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.
Taylor revealed to the board that he was considering hiring a maintenance director to fill the vacant position, and asked for the board’s input.
“We definitely need it if we can afford it,” said board member Alan West.
Board member Ophelia Munn-Goins agreed. “Dr. Heavenridge has done a great job, but we need someone with experience in maintenance.”
Sharon Penny, finance director, told the board that there had been a change in planning allotments.
“Previously, if student growth increased, there was built-in automatic growth, and the schools were automatically funded for the increase,” she explained. “That’s not the case any more. DPI is no longer sending out allotments based on the ABM. They will send us a formula and we can project our own allotments.”
Penny informed the board that the state insurance premium would be increasing, but that there was not a lot of information coming out of Raleigh right now regarding salaries.
Taylor let the board know that they would be meeting with the county commissioners the first week in April in order to let the commissioners know the system’s needs.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.