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Orange County Board of Education discusses redistricting plan, air quality treatments

20220328_Rains_city-disparities-in-orange-county-schools.jpg

The Orange County Board of Education building, as pictured on Monday, March 28, 2022, is located on East King Street in Hillsborough.

The Orange County Board of Education met on Feb. 19 to discuss its redistricting plan, Capital Improvement Plan, updates on the district’s air quality treatment process and offerings for summer 2024 camps. 

What's new?

  • Eleven Orange County School employees either received or renewed their National Board Certification, which defines and recognizes accomplished teaching.
  • During the public comment period, many community members expressed gratitude that the board paused the redistricting planning process to hear community feedback. 
  • Community members asked the board to increase transparency regarding the process moving forward and ensure that the process is as equitable as possible.
    • Rosemary Deane, a community member and staff member at New Hope Elementary, said, as the board moves forward with the process, they should focus on redistricting intentionally. 
      • “As you reflect upon the redistricting process, and how to ensure that it is a truly equitable process for all of our families, please take into consideration our most vulnerable communities, and the incredible ways we've connected with them and supported them and will continue to do so,” Deane said. 

What's changed?

  • The board unanimously approved a resolution petitioning the Orange County Board of County Commissioners to provide funding for OCS for its Capital Improvement Plan that lists $195,667,531 in capital projects needed to meet OCS’s facility needs.
    • The resolution was signed and will be sent to the BOCC.
  • Dwayne Foster, the chief operations officer for OCS, presented an update on the remedies and corrective actions taken as a result of the 2023 Indoor Air Quality report.
    • Some of the corrective actions include biocide treatment to remediate and prevent mold particulates, regularly cleaning registers, HVAC temperature adjustments, ceiling tile replacement and other cleaning.
  • Ambra Wilson, the OCS executive director of literacy, provided an update on the district’s upcoming summer program offerings. She recommended the district offer a kindergarten through third grade Read to Achieve camp based on eligibility from middle of the year testing data.
    • Wilson said there are around 840 K–3 students who would be eligible for the camp because they are not at grade-level proficiency. 
      • She said the district’s 6–8 grade Mathematical and Science Pathways through Career Exploration and STEAM program would give students hands-on, problem based learning experiences.
  • Foster provided an update on redistricting planning, which he said was extended to allow community members time to understand draft maps.
    • “Taking the necessary time to get this right will be critical for a successful start of school when reassignment takes full effect in the fall of 2025,” Foster said.
    • Foster thanked the reassignment committee for their diligence in planning over the last several months, as well as the feedback given by community members during public information sessions. 
    • Board member Bonnie Hauser said as the board moves forward, they should listen to feedback and continue to hear from principals, community members and social workers about what the constraints are for the redistricting process.
      • “These school communities are sacred communities, and they have real relationships that we have got to protect, because we just can’t go in and destroy them,” Hauser said. “So I would like to know from our principals and our schools: where are those sacred relationships, and what do we need to protect in our redistricting process?”
    • Redistricting is still planned to start for the 2025-26 school year, Foster said.

What's next? 

  • The board will meet next on March 4 in the Whitted Human Services Building in Hillsborough.

@sarahhclements

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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