The Ashe County Board of Education met June 11, to consider budget requests from Ashe County Schools for the 2013-14 school year.
Presenting the board with a spread sheet of pending requests from all schools and departments, Interim Superintendent Donnie Johnson said, “We’re at a point now where we need to say yes or no to some of these items.”
While the N.C. Legislature still has not released a final state budget for fiscal year 2014, Johnson said, “We hope by next Tuesday, we think, they will have a budget passed…to give us in idea of where we can go from here for 2013-14.”
Assistant Superintendent Phyllis Yates detailed each of the 49 request, offering administrative recommendations for funding.
A request from student services on behalf Ashe County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers for $5,000 to purchase two AR-15 rifles was denied. Student services was granted $9,100, though, for continued support of the Ashe County Assessment, Support and Counseling Center.
The athletics department was granted a request for restoration of Ashe County High School’s track, which has developed cracks, and poses a safety hazard, Yates said. Three other requests for funds to pay for additional coaching needs were put on hold, and a request for an athletic travel stipend was denied.
A request from the technology department to increase wireless access at all five Ashe County schools was denied, but approval was given to update furniture at the Ashe County High School media center.
Employment of a career development coordinator for Career and Technical Education was put on hold while personnel could be considered, but employment of an additional exceptional childrens’ teacher was approved.
Acknowledging increased demands on teachers and student needs, the board approved employment of a K-6 curriculum coordinator.
The Ashe Early Learning Center will receive funds for a four-wheel-drive mower, which custodial staff requested to maintain sections of the grounds that lie on steep slopes.
Westwood Elementary requested replacement of 51 classroom projectors and projector mounts, which have been in service since 2004, and for which parts are no longer available. The board opted to honor half the request, granting 25 new projectors for 2013-14, with the other half to be replaced next year.
Blue Ridge Elementary was granted funds to replace well-worn classroom furniture in grades one, two and five. Board member Terry Williams agreed the request was valid, recalling that much of Blue Ridge’s furniture came from Lansing High School, which was decommissioned in 1994.
A request from Blue Ridge for refurbished laptops and mobile computer carts was denied in part because some new computer equipment had already been purchased out of the $118,000 ACS receives annually from the Board of Commissioners to fund technology purchases.
Mountain View Elementary asked for two re-furbished mobile laptop carts, but was granted only one, also to be purchased from BOC tech funding. A receptionist position at the school was extended from 10 months to 12.
Ashe County High School will get a new commercial-grade Z-trak mower and 28-inch propane buffer this year. A request for an upgrade of the school’s aging surveillance system was denied, however, citing recent purchase of new equipment to augment the existing system.
Ashe County Middle School’s request for an additional health/PE teacher was denied, but employment of an additional counselor was approved. The school’s counseling office is under-staffed, and currently only able to address the most severe problems, Yates said.
The school bus garage was granted requests for a used spare service truck, a tire changer and wheel balancer, and an additional hydraulic lift.