Last updated: June 01. 2013 7:49AM - 262 Views
Dylan Lightfoot
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A one-year waiver of the N.C. State Board of Education’s end of course (EOC) testing requirements was unanimously approved by the Ashe County Board of Education at its January meeting last night.

Students’ EOC test scores in English II, algebra I and biology count for 25 percent their final grades for those courses. Ashe County High School Principal Jason Krider asked the board to waive the requirement, which the state is allowing for the 2012-13 school year due to implementation difficulties.

Fall semester test scores for 425 students will not be returned until February, Krider said. Rescheduling of students who failed courses based on EOC results would mean splitting up classes several weeks into the new semester.

For 2012-13, he said, “we certainly felt a student’s semester-long grade to be a better reflection of…academic progress.”

Board member Dr. Lee Beckworth asked if there was any indication whether the gravity of the EOC assessment affected student performance. “We can certainly look at that,” Krider said, adding that he thought most students took final exams pretty seriously in any case and want to do well.

A propane service agreement between Ashe County Schools and Blue Ridge Energies (BRE) was unanimously approved which will spearhead an effort to convert school buses to use propane.

According to the agreement, BRE will install liquid propane (LP) injection kits and fuel tanks beginning with one activity bus, and will fuel converted vehicles at its West Jefferson facility on N.C. 163. The company offered the board two pricing options: a retail price, which would fluctuate with the market, versus a locked-in rate set for determined periods of time.

The LP kit injects propane into the vehicle’s air intake, resulting in reduced fuel costs and emissions, and increased power and mileage with longer service intervals, according to BRE’s October proposal to the board.

Seeking board approval for the project, Assistant Superintendent Phyllis Yates said BRE assured her that the fuel tanks, which are certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, are 20 times more puncture-resistant than conventional diesel tanks.

The agreement read that either party can terminate the agreement at any time by giving 60 days written notice. Yates said BRE would amend it to allow as little as 15 days notice of termination if the program does not work out for either party.

Ashe County School’s personnel recommendations for the year were approved without exception. Donnie Johnson will be serving as interim superintendent for the remainder of the school year following the resignation of Dr. Travis Reeves, who went to Surry County Schools this month.

Johnson served as superintendent of Ashe County Schools from 1999 until his retirement in 2009.

Dr. Beckworth said of Johnson: “We’re very fortunate to have a man of his character and caliber that we can call on.”

The board voted to renew the contract of Anderson Smith & Wike PLLC for three more years. The Wilkesboro-based accounting firm has performed the board’s annual financial audits in recent years, and “has been doing a good job for us” Yates said.

Three requests for class trips to Washington D.C. were unanimously approved. Sixth-graders, teachers and chaperons from Blue Ridge, Mountain View and Westwood elementary schools will be taking buses to the capitol between Mar. 12 and Apr. 11.

Dwayne Farmer, a teacher assistant at Ashe County High School was recognized as ACS’s Employee of the Month for January.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 4.

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