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The Wilson County Board of Education voted to continue the current transportation plan into the 2019-20 school year for Spanish immersion students.
At the last regular board meeting held March 18, it was the decision of the board to expand the Spanish immersion program to the fifth-grade level.
One decision tabled at that time was how to deal with the issue of transporting students in the program between Wells, Hearne and Frederick Douglass elementary schools.
There are currently 122 students in the Spanish immersion program in Wilson County Schools.
“We did ask for numbers in terms of kindergarten registration,” said board chairwoman Christine Fitch. “We were informed today that there were 28 students or families who have expressed an interest in signing their children into the program.”
The Wilson County Schools administration was asked to go back and look at the transportation issues.
Four options were presented to the instructional services committee.
Option 1 • Students living in the Frederick Douglass district ride existing routes, new bus riders (kindergarteners and first-graders) will be added to the existing routes as they are enrolled in the program, according to information from the Wilson County Schools. Students living in the Wells and Hearne districts are either picked up at their individual stops at their homes or picked up at Wells and Hearne. This includes car riders outside of Wells and Hearne district or walkers. The reverse happens in the afternoons.
Option 2 • “The second option would be a reassignment to special programs, which would mean that transportation would not be provided because our current policy allows for transportation in terms of schools,” Fitch said. “We have WAAT and we have WECA that have transportation but that Spanish Immersion would be a program and not a school, so that that option recommendation would be that there be no transportation provided.”
Option 3 • “Option three would be a shuttle bus that would increase the opportunity to participate by allowing the Spanish immersion students to ride their base school buses and that there be shuttle buses,” Fitch said. “We would made sure that any incoming students within the Frederick Douglass rider area be included and that students from Wells and Hearne could be shuttled who arrived by car or by walking.”
Option 4 • Students arrive at Wells and Hearne in time to get to Frederick Douglass by 7:45 a.m. Families arrange transportation either by car or by walking to Wells or Hearne.
“The issue in conversation focused on arrival time,” Fitch said. “Also in option one, there was a discussion of parents who do not pick up their students in a timely manner after they have been delivered to their base schools. There were options that were placed in consideration in terms of consequences for not arriving that would be worked out by the administration.”
Fitch said it was the recommendation of the Instructional Services Committee, that option one, bus transportation, be continued by the system for the school year 2019-20.
The vote was split, with Fitch voting in opposition.
In other business, the board:
• approved 2019-20 local current expense budget request for $24,657,287 and a capital outlay budget request for $1,000,000, for a total request of $25,657,287. The request will be presented to the Wilson County Board of Commissioners on May 7 at 7 p.m.
• approved a 2017-18 audit report by the firm of Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC.
• approved expenditure of $506,900 in roofing projects for the auditorium at Vick Elementary School and the transportation building and for soundproofing in the auditorium at Vick. AAR of North Carolina, a commercial roofing firm based in Kernersville, will do the work.
• approved 15 draft policies on second readings. They included selection of education resources, school improvement plan, removal of student during the day, surveys of students, schools and the community, parent organization, emergency epinephrine auto-injector devices, gifts and bequests, information provided by applicant or employee, employee health certificate, communicable diseases, substitute teachers assignments/reassignments/transfers and workday and overtime.
• tabled action on Title 1 school eligibility to get more information.