LUMBERTON — New state requirements for the third grade will cost the local school district money, Johnny Hunt, superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County, told the Board of Education on Thursday, but he doesn’t know how much.
“This is another unfunded state mandate,” Hunt said after the school board had been updated on the new requirements that go into effect for the 2013-14 school year.
According to the new regulations, if a third-grade student does not pass the End of Grade test, that student must attend summer school. At the end of summer, the student is given the test again.
Another failed attempt at passing the test and the student is placed in a “transitional” fourth-grade class. If progress is made by Nov. 1, the student can then be placed in a regular fourth-grade class.
The summer school, transportation, teacher, and location for the transitional class must all be financed by the local school district, Hunt said.
“We don’t know where we will get the money and how much it will cost,” Hunt said. “It’s impossible to know how much it will cost because we don’t know how many students will fail the EOG.”
Board members also learned Thursday that two schools in the district — Fairgrove and Townsend middle schools — are receiving bonus money awarded through the state’s Race to the Top program. The bonus money is available through the program because the two schools, identified by the state in 2008-09 for their low growth, have made “admirable growth” over the past two years, Linda Emanuel, an assistant superintendent said.
Hunt said the bonus money is for certified teachers who have been employed at the two schools last year and this year.
In other business. the board authorized its attorney to draw up a lease proposal for the old Townsend Middle School gym to be considered by the town of Maxton. It also authorized $45,000 in insurance money and $45,000 in local funds be used for more than $80,000 worth of improvements to the facility. Repairs to the roof, addition of a new wooden floor, and replacement of windows are among repairs that are needed.
Maxton officials have been lobbying the school district to allow the town to use the old gym as a site for recreation programs. The school district has declared the facility as surplus property.
In other business:
— Taley Strickland, the daughter of board member Gary Strickland, made a brief presentation about the Breakfast Buddies program. The program involves students from Purnell Swett and Lumberton high schools mentoring younger students.
— The board was informed that as of this year, the state requires that all graduating high school students have CPR training. Certification in CPR is not a requirement for graduation.
— Shanika Moore, a third-grade teacher at Prospect School for three years, was named the school district’s Certified Employee of the Month. Ellen Locklear, a cafeteria worker at Prospect School for 22 years, was named the school district’s Classified Employee of the Month.