School Board studies pressing needs

Published 9:05 am Monday, June 18, 2012

WINDSOR – Retiring Bertie County Schools Superintendent Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins laid out plans for the next 90 days as the district plans for a new leader.

During a called meeting Thursday night, Harris-Rollins was asked by the board to offer her insight into items that were pressing.

“I think your number one priority over the next 90 days or so should be working to hire finance officer,” Harris-Rollins said. “That should be a priority, even over hiring a superintendent.”

The superintendent said the board had advertised the position more than once and interviewed candidates, but for many reasons hadn’t been able to get someone on board. She said Ann Morris, who serves as Interim Finance Officer, would have to vacate the position soon because of returning to her full-time retirement.

“I think your number one priority should be finding a capable, competent finance officer,” Harris-Rollins said. “The district has come quite a ways in terms up dealing with financial issues, but there are still issues to go.”

Harris-Rollins suggested the next job for the board was to fill the superintendency and also other key positions in the district.

She said while a Reduction In Force (RIF) was necessary, there would be key teaching positions that would need to be filled and the board should be proactive in finding the best candidates.

Third, she said was working on the implementation of the Golden Leaf grant awarded to the district. She said the process of receiving the grant was arduous, but it would take even more to implement it.

Harris-Rollins said the district would continue to focus on staff development, particularly as it relates to the new Common Core curriculum.

“We got our feet wet with Common Core this year, but now comes baptism,” she said.

The superintendent also talked about the process of physically moving Bertie Prep back to the campus of Bertie High School and all of the process that would go along with it.

Following the superintendent’s report, Board Chair Gloria Lee said the only thing that wasn’t mentioned was working on RIFs. Lee said the board still wanted certain financial information before making those decisions.

Board member Alton Parker asked for up-to-date financial information concerning balances in particularly local funds and also in the capital outlay funds. The board agreed later in the meeting to receive that information during their July 2 meeting.

Parker also asked about the nearly $15,000 cost of moving a mobile unit from the Bertie Prep site to the Bertie High School campus. He was told the unit was needed on the high school campus, according to incoming BHS Principal Elaine White.

Board member Pamela Chamblee discussed the problems White was having with scheduling. She said there were rooms at Bertie High which were unusable and White had not been forewarned.

Harris-Rollins and Maintenance Director Matthew Bond said much of that work was already completed and that all rooms White needed would be repaired so they could be used.

Chamblee asked if there was room for book storage elsewhere in the district and Bond said there was storage space at the former C.G. White High School. He said the books that were stored at Bertie High were being moved there so as to accommodate those units being used by White.

Chamblee asked Bond if the projects could be completed on time and he said they could.