Education: Bill Fletcher February 2017 Newsletter

Cary, NC – Thoughts for February 2017 from Bill Fletcher, Member of the Wake County Board of Education.

Kathy Hartenstein Joins Board to Represent District 7

Kathy Hartenstein, a lifelong educator in Durham and Wake Counties and recently retired principal at Baileywick Elementary School, was chosen by the Board of Education to fill the unexpired term of colleague Zora Felton. She is expected to provide a clear-eyed perspective to policy and budget issues from both a teacher’s and school-based administrator’s point-of-view. Welcome aboard!

Board Input for 2017-18 District Budget

Board members identified areas of possible focus for the next budget: emphasis on behavior modification for suspended students; improve customer service especially from transportation; more resources for schools serving high numbers of children living in poverty; finding more time for teachers to plan & collaborate; increase incidence of school nurses and counselors; and many, many more. Stay tuned.

What Should Our School Calendars Look Like?

School system staff will soon present draft calendars for the 2018-19 school year for review by the public and Board. Parents, teachers, administrators and others work within the legislature’s restrictive school calendar law to schedule 180 days of instruction, 11 holidays, 10 vacation days and 15 teacher workdays – all between August 24, 2018, and June 7, 2019.

Please take a moment to review the draft calendars as they are released and provide your feedback.

State Budget Will Gobble Up County Funding for Schools

Responsive legislators including Chris Malone (R) and Gale Adcock (D) sponsored HB13 to restore the state funding Wake uses for elementary art, music and PE teachers. Unfortunately, Senate leaders appear less concerned that that funding may only be used for reducing class sizes in K – 3. To maintain art, music and PE will require $27MM (about a two cent increase in Wake property taxes) from the County Commission or significant increases in class sizes in upper grades.

Impractical Expectations & Unfunded Mandates from the NCGA

In a typical Wake elementary school, there are about 420 students in grades K-3. There are 5 classrooms and 5 teachers per grade level. With the new class size limits, this school will need 5 additional teachers and classrooms. Across 80 elementary schools in the District, that’s 400 new teachers and classrooms… by August 2017. Where will the teaching spaces, capital and new personnel come from?

Big question: Does the NC General Assembly believe art, music and PE are essential elements of education? If so, where is the funding?

Factoid #29: Drop Outs Down!

Early reports and analysis by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for academic year 2015- 116 shows Wake’s student dropout rate improved to 1.69% down from 2.15% in 2014-15 and is significantly below the state rate of 2.29%. Yet 819 students walked away from their educational futures and that is 819 too many.

Parent chats (except on holidays)

1st Thursday – 1 PM
Cary Chamber, 315 N Academy St., Cary

3rd Monday – 11 AM
Caribou Coffee shop, 109 SW Maynard Rd., Cary

Bill Fletcher school || Voice Mail: 919-694-8843 || Mobile: 919-880-5301

Story by Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education. Graph courtesy of Bill Fletcher. Photo courtesy of Wake County Public School System.