Hoke County Schools approves Federal Consolidated Budget application

Board of Education to interview candidates for HCHS project manager position

RAEFORD — The Hoke County Schools Board of Education met Tuesday, August 8, with discussions over a potential hire as well as the federal consolidated budget on the agenda.

The board was first presented with a proposal to interview potential project managers for the Hoke County High School project.

The two candidates whose resumes had been brought forth to the board by Hoke County Schools staff were Robert Bell and John Birath.

“Mr. Bell has a lot of military experience as well as a few different types of projects where he’s had management experience both within the military and outside in the civilian world,” said Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Information Systems Chad Hunt.

“We also have Mr. Birath, who has a background as an architect and has also served in various positions as far as project management is concerned with also overseeing the building of various schools,” Hunt said. “At one point in time, Mr. Birath also worked with SfLa+ at their firm. This was actually the person that, when this conversation first started, was recommended.”

“I do realize that it does cost money, but at the same time, their diligence in being on the site, almost daily, really ensures that things are being done correctly,” said Interim Superintendent Rodney Shotwell. “Making sure that if there is another way to do part of the project when they’re building that could save money, that’s what that person is there for.”

“Having someone like one of these people on board that has experience with public school construction, that has experience on the architectural and construction side, having someone like that will be an invaluable resource in managing this contract. Managing the contractor and making good sound situations making sure you get the money back at the end of the project that you’re entitled to will more than pay for what the typical cost of someone like this is. You will need somebody to manage and lead and drive this forward for you and to make sure that the school system is making the divisions that you need to make in a timely fashion. Not delaying the project, not delaying the contractor.” Attorney Rod Malone

The board was also given a presentation on the 2023-2024 Federal Grant Application, otherwise known as the Federal Programs Consolidated Budget.

The application is for four grants: Title I – Part A and C, Title II, Title III, and Title IV funds.

“Title I – Part C is our migrant budget, and for 2023-24 the allocation is $120,513,” said Executive Director of Federal Programs and School Improvement Erica Fortenberry. “That is a significant decrease from last year of about $54,852. That decrease is due to the fact that our migrant student population did decrease by about 60 students last year and the year before combined as the migrant funds are only allocated for a two-year span based on your count.”

According to Fortenberry, the migrant funds will pay for one migrant full-time recruiter, three 10-month full-time salaries for migrant tutors – one for elementary, middle and high school – professional development opportunities, field experiences for migrant students and a two-week “Summer Extended Learning Program,” supplemental supplies, migrant family events and multicultural family night/day out, family literacy courses and support for out-of-school youth.

“Title 2 is our Supportive Effective Instruction that has a budget of $427,435,” Fortenberry said. “We did have a significant increase in that budget this year of $25,516.”

According to Fortenberry, those funds are allocated for teacher salaries, tuition reimbursement, new teacher orientation and supplies and materials.

“Title III is our Language Acquisition,” said Fortenberry. “The budget is $80,281. This is just a supplemental for our ESL students. Last year the allocation was $78,480. Just a slight decrease.”

The funding will provide for a part-time parent liaison to support ESL students, two ESL tutors – one at Sandy Grove and one at West Hoke – professional development, the purchase of instructional supplies and materials and extended day learning opportunities.

“Title IV is our Student Support and Academic Enrichment,” said Fortenberry. “This year’s grant is $230,246. Last year was $212,066. That was an increase of $18,180.

“This grant is supported in three areas: to improve student achievement and well-rounded education – we used it in previous years to help our art programs. This year, we’re going to use them to support our STEM – to have safe and healthy students, and the effective use of technology integration is the last component.”

“The big grant is Title I, Part A – Basic Programs,” said Fortenberry. “This year, the allocation was $2,966,060. That is an increase of $17,913. That is increased due to the fact that our low-income population did increase for the district.”

The funds are primarily to pay the salaries of additional teachers and tutorial programs as well as parent and family engagement activities, professional development for teaching staff and instructional materials for classroom and student use.

According to Fortenberry, 12% of the funding will go to administrative costs, including supporting materials, salary benefits, travel, staff development for federal program staff, foster care transportation, homeless education and other indirect costs.

In addition, $150,000 is blended with NC Pre-K, Smart Start and EC Pre-School to support Pre-K classes, and $4,763.76 is allocated to support equitable services for two out-of-district private schools: Greater Fayetteville Adventist Academy and The School of Hope.

Following the presentation, the board approved the submission of the consolidated federal budget applications.

The Hoke County Schools Board of Education will next meet September 12.