Northampton school board approves HCC agreement

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2022

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JACKSON – Adjustments to the annual joint agreement with Halifax Community College (HCC) will allow Northampton County Schools to redirect some funds for the upcoming school year.

The resolution and joint agreement were approved by the Northampton County Board of Education at a special meeting held on Aug. 29. Interim Superintendent Dr. Del Burns presented the information to the board before the vote.

Halifax Community College has hosted the Northampton County Early College High School on its campus the past few years. The joint agreement lays out the terms for this annual partnership.

“There are three other early college high schools that are on that campus. Upon reviewing the agreement, there were several issues that were of concern. And there were questions regarding them because they were present in the Northampton agreement but not in others,” explained Burns.

Burns collaborated with Northampton Early College High School Principal Monica Edmonds, representatives from the school board’s attorney firm, and HCC Acting President Dr. David Forester. Together, they worked out some changes to the agreement.

The most significant change, Burns noted, was that Northampton County Schools will no longer be required to pay salary and benefits for a school resource officer and a custodian on the HCC campus. He reported that would provide approximately $75,000 in savings which could be used – along with approximately $50,000 in new Title I funds this year – to hire two more teachers for Northampton’s Early College program.

“That would be a great benefit to the students of the Early College,” Burns stated.

Dr. Burns also pointed out a few other minor changes, including times that Northampton students will be on HCC’s campus as well as ensuring that necessary discipline is a cooperative effort between Northampton County Schools and HCC. For that last change, he noted that this agreement just put into writing what was already being done previously.

Board member Lucy Edwards stated she was glad to hear about these changes. She recalled that the original terms of the agreement had been made because they wanted to make sure Northampton’s students were safe while on HCC’s campus.

Burns clarified that, in the past, Northampton County Schools agreed to pay salary and benefits for one of the two armed school resource officers on campus.

“This agreement still stipulates that there will be two armed resource officers, so in terms of the level of security support, it is unchanged,” Burns said. “The only difference is you’re not paying for an SRO or a custodian. Safety is the most important thing.”

Board member Dr. Marjorie Edwards said she was glad to hear about the changes too, particularly that funds will be available to hire more teachers for the Early College. Board Chair Rhonda Taylor also stated this new agreement will be a plus for everyone involved.

Dr. Edwards then motioned to approve the resolution and joint agreement, and Barbara Stephenson provided the second. The vote was unanimously in favor by all present. Board member Theresa Scott was unable to attend the meeting.