LUMBERTON — The Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County on Tuesday adopted a plan for students to make up four days lost to the February snowstorm.
In a 10-1 vote, the board decided that students in all grades will make up the lost days by attending school on March 28, which was a teacher workday, April 18, which is Good Friday, and June 12. Also, as part of the new schedule, an additional seven minutes will be added to the school day. The changes will apply to grades kindergarten through 12th.
This is the second time this year the board has been forced to come up with a plan for days lost to the weather. The system decided to make up the first lost days by having students attend school on President’s Day and by adding 13 minutes to the school day for students in grades kindergarten through eighth.
Board member Dwayne Smith voted against the plan adopted Tuesday night.
“No time is really a good time,” Smith said after the meeting. “But with one of those days falling on Good Friday, well, I think that we needed to spend more time thinking about this. You want to make sure we meet our requirements, but you also want to think about keeping your morale up.”
During last month’s meeting, the board decided to ask the state if it could be excused from having to make up the most recent lost days, but it has received no response. According to Erica Setzer, chief finance officer, other districts have been able to add Saturday classes. She said that is not a good option in Robeson County as some employees would work six consecutive days and would earn overtime that the system can’t afford to pay.
Also on Tuesday, the board in 8-3 vote allocated $200,000 for improvements to the weight room at Lumberton Senior High. Jo Ann Lowery, Gary Strickland and Vice Chairman Bosco Locklear voting in opposition, asking that the district first vote for a report to be done that would examine all of the infrastructure needs of all schools.
“I am not opposed to looking at need, and I agree that we should have a report done,” said board member John Campbell. “But I just want as soon as possible for us to address this weight-room issue instead of continuing to put it off.”
In other business, the school board signed a largely symbolic resolution that would express the board’s support of any teachers who choose to participate in the North Carolina Association of Educator’s Decline to Sign campaign.
The NCAE is encouraging teachers to put off signing employee contracts required by a new state law, which would terminate career status for North Carolina teachers. The piece of legislation has has been unpopular among many educators, as well as representatives on school boards across the state. The law was passed as a way of making it easier for districts to lay off any teachers who are not performing well. The NCAE is pursuing a lawsuit in the hopes of forcing legislators to repeal the law.