09/09/10 — Duplin school board could vote soon on joint agreement with county

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Duplin school board could vote soon on joint agreement with county

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on September 9, 2010 1:46 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan is "very impressed with the way things are moving" with a proposed school funding memorandum of understanding that school board members could vote on the measure at their next meeting.

The Duplin Board of Education met in a work session Tuesday and received copies of the memorandum, which was drafted and approved by the county commission.

The board members did not take any action during the work session, but will hear Obasohan's recommendation on the $4.8 million lawsuit judgment at the meeting scheduled for Sept. 21. The memorandum is "just (for your information)" until then, but Obasohan is "still working very hard" to provide a suggested course of action in the next two weeks, he said.

The memorandum outlines a plan to provide 40 percent of the county tax levy to the school system, with the understanding that the funding level would fulfill the judgment and set a benchmark for future local school funding.

In other information presented to the board, the county schools' nursing staff will take part in a case management study funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Health Care Trust. The county will partner with East Carolina University's School of Nursing to study the relationship between school nursing case management on student performance.

The goal is to improve health and academic success and show both the data outcomes from end of year test scores and also indicate an improvement in students' quality of life, school nurse Ms. Edie Barfield said.

The study will examine kindergarten and pre-kindergarten health assessments, the daily attendance bulletin, medication consent forms and other information sources to form a baseline for comparison. Some of the common health issues for school-age children in Duplin County are asthma, diabetes and allergies, Ms. Barfield reported. The illnesses can often lead to missed school days, potentially resulting in lower student achievement, she said.

The board members also got a look at the "Kidsville" student newspaper now circulating to families of Duplin students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The county schools pay approximately $36,000 a year to include three pages of locally-produced content to help keep parents informed of school developments. The money is provided by Title I funding that must be dedicated to parent involvement. All Duplin contributions to "Kidsville" are also available in Spanish.

The board also heard briefly from a state Department of Public Instruction representative addressing an alleged mistake in the county's 2006 paperwork for federal school E-rate funding. The state department will be working with the school system in the future to ensure the forms are correct.

Additionally, the school system may require all staff members to receive their paychecks by direct deposit as of Jan. 1, 2011. The system may stop printing direct deposit vouchers at that time, which could save more than $26,000 a year in printing and labor costs. School officials plan to discuss the possible transition with school staff.