GREENSBORO — A proposal to drop the last day for students this school year is up for a vote at tonight’s Guilford County school board meeting in High Point.
If the new proposal passes, the last day of school for students on the traditional calendar this school year would become Monday, June 10.
School board members voted in early April to cancel school on May 1 of this year because Superintendent Sharon Contreras said there likely would be too many teacher and staff absences to run the schools. Members of the Guilford County Association of Educators and their allies attended a mass rally in Raleigh that day to ask legislators to fund education priorities and expand Medicaid.
At the time, the board voted to cancel school on May 1 and make it an optional teacher work day. The board also approved a recommendation from Contreras to turn June 11, which had been scheduled as a teacher work day, into a student day.
In her memo for Tuesday night’s meeting agenda, Contreras said she had recommended adding that student day out of lingering concerns that more school might be missed for bad weather. Now, she said, with the end of the school year approaching and graduations beginning in two weeks, she has determined the day won’t be needed for weather-related makeup.
Similarly, under her recommendation, the last day of school would also revert to the next-to-last day for schools following other calendars.
The vote on the final day of school is the last of several action items up for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting.
Board members also are set to vote on a 2019-20 budget request to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.
Contreras’ proposed district budget includes raises for teachers, bus drivers and school nutrition staff, and the closure of Hampton Elementary School, among other changes.
They also are set to vote on a plan from Contreras that would prioritize career and tech construction projects at five high schools, while leaving a sixth high school off the list for the most immediate reallocation request.
At their April 30 school board meeting, board members voted to ask county commissioners to allow them to reallocate $1.89 million to replace the roof of the Gateway Education Center and repair windows and gutters to fix issues with water leaks. Superintendent Sharon Contreras recommended the change, but informed school board members it would cut into the roughly $7 million they had asked to reallocate to six Career and Technical Education construction projects.
She asked them to tell her which of the six high schools’ projects they wanted her to cut from the request.
Boosting Career and Technical Education is a major goal for this board, and members weren’t happy about cutting or delaying any of the projects. After discussion, they wound up voting to ask Contreras to prioritize instead and bring back a recommendation.
Contreras’ recommendation calls for using about $5.9 million in leftover money from other construction projects to fund CTE renovation and building projects at five schools. This includes the $5.2 million in leftover project money Contreras originally noted, plus an additional $560,532 leftover from a project at Hunter Elementary and $22,942 from a project at the Academy at Smith.
About $4 million of the money would go to a new building that would be added to house a new advanced manufacturing and engineering program at Smith High School. The rest would be split between Western High School, The Academy at Smith, Kearns Academy and Northeast High School.
Contreras said in the agenda memo that the money would cover design and construction, and the difference needed to fully cover the building improvement projects would come from yet-to-become-available leftover money from projects at Western Guilford and High Point Central.
The one school that’s no longer on the list in the proposal is Southeast High School, which had been up for about $900,000 in renovations to house its own advanced manufacturing and engineering program.
It’s not clear from the agenda documents whether the schools might also be able to pay for the Southeast High renovation later from the leftovers from Western Guilford and High Point Central. At any rate, as proposed, it would not be part of the request that the board would send to county commissioners to consider at their meeting on Thursday.