Parent committee fails to garner school board approval

Increased substitute pay approved

RAEFORD — The Hoke County Schools Board of Education discussed a range of policy items at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Interim Superintendent Rodney Shotwell gave an update on the impact of signing bonuses previously approved for the 2023-24 school year.

“How did those new sign-on bonuses help us in terms of the number of people that we have at each school?” Shotwell asked. “So far, about 24 individuals have been able to receive the sign-on bonus and we’ve got some more coming. But when you think about it, 24 over 14 schools, I know that the intent of the organization was to get more people to come in over here as a result of the signing bonus.”

He added, “We’re also doing the bonuses a little bit differently. If a person receives a $7,500 sign-on bonus, they get $2,500 upfront and then the remaining amount will be split up over the course of three years. This is another way to ensure that the person has a little bit of longevity.”

The board approved several new policies related to the Parent’s Bill of Rights Legislation, as recommended by the North Carolina School Board Association. It tabled Policy 3210 – Parental Inspection of and Objection to Instructional Materials for further review.

The board also approved the NCSBA Hosting Platform for the hosting district policies.

“There is a one-time fee of $1,250 and an annual subscription of $3,650, however, it is prorated,” Shotwell said. “It’s basically $304 a month and it’s the best $304 a month you’ll spend for not only the public but our teachers, principals and staff to be able to access and find applicable policies.”

In addition, the board approved school improvement plans for low-performing schools and pay raises for substitute teachers.

“Our need for substitute teachers has grown, not only here in Hoke County but everywhere around us,” Shotwell said.

Pay for non-certified substitutes will rise from $98 to $117 per day, and certified substitute pay will go from $135 to $150 a day.

Finally, a resolution for a proposed Ad Hoc Parent Committee, which would serve as an advisory board to the Board of Education, failed to move forward.

“This committee will be something for the board, not for the purpose of running individually but for all the board members to include more specifically the staff, administration and most importantly the parents and students,” said board member Ruben Castellon, who had drafted the resolution.

Board member Rosa McAllister-McRae, who had opposed the committee in prior meetings, tried to table the item for a full year, but her motion also failed to meet the voting threshold.

“The motions on the floor are dead,” McAllister-McRae said. “We just have to move on.”

Castellon can bring the item back in a future meeting and said he plans to reach out to every board member to work toward an agreeable resolution.

The Hoke County Schools Board of Education will next meet Nov. 14.