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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 2014 Meeting of Macon County Board of Education

A Migration Celebration poster created for a project that was presented 
to the school board by local students. 
The butterfly pics are courtesy of Jeffrey Pippen.​

Here is the agenda packet that was released to the local media.

The full video of the October 2014 meeting of the Macon County School Board is below.

Here is a briefing of what transpired during the meeting, starting with a roll call of local media outlets represented at the meeting.


Macon Media (me)
Macon County News and Shopping Guide 
The Franklin Press

Spotlight on People and Programs

The board recognized the Franklin High School Exchange Student Program. Donna Bell presented five foreign exchange students to the board and spoke about the program, thanking the various people involved in the program for their assistance, including the families who host the students during their stay in the United States.

Sandra Rippetoe presented information on the observance of Hispanic Heritage Month and the winners of a poster contest held in the Macon County Schools. Several winners were present and spoke about their entry to the board members.

Jennifer Love presented information about the Coweeta LTER Schoolyard Program that is part of the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research Program and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Several students spoke about the research during a slide show. The project is also on Facebook.


No one from the public signed up to speak during this month's meeting.


Sheriff Holland spoke to members of the board about an upcoming Active Shooter Symposium that will be held at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on November 10, 2014. 

Here is an excerpt from the webpage devoted to the course on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety:

One of the primary goals of the symposium is to provide an overview of the roles of school personnel, mental health providers, students, law enforcement and other emergency response providers in order to reduce violence in our schools. This overview along with discussing the expectations of those involved will serve to strengthen and maximize a uniformed streamlined approach thereby reducing and minimizing injuries in the event of an active threat. In summation, a dialogue will be fostered among all stakeholders to facilitate and enhance preparedness through a “whole community” approach as recommended by the US Department of Homeland Security addressing school violence.

Course Objectives:

•Mental Health Issues in Schools & Assistance
•Reducing the Amount of Casualties
•Risk Assessment
•Law Enforcement Tactics
•Role of the School Resource Officer
•School Administrators Response
•Profile of the Active Shooter
•Active Shooter History
•Crisis Negotiations

If you are a stakeholder in the school system or an emergency responder and would like to register for the course, click here.

I covered an active shooter drill at WCU in 2009 with the permission of WCU Staff and local law enforcement. I posted video and photos as the drill took place, simulating live coverage of a shooting event.

The Daily record in Wooster, Ohio recorded video during a similar drill in 2013 and is posted below:

And here is a active shooter response training video produced by a public school just northwest of Cincinnati, Ohio:

Fore more information on the A.L.I.C.E. training shown in the above video, please the A.L.I.C.E. Training Institute Youtube page or website. The Departmnet of Homeland Security has a lot of resources on their website for members of the public who want to know more and to help them prepare for their own safety if they encounter a situation (in or out of school) where an active shooter is present.

There were numerous requests for over or out of district trips and requests to engage in various fund raising programs and personnel notifications presented and approved by the board.


The board approved a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with R.E.A.C.H. of Macon County that "formalizes the commitment" of the two organizations "to work together to provide age appropriate prevention focused education for students, employees, and/or parents." The goal is to prevent sexual violence and to respond appropriately to those ho have been victimized.

The board approved a Clinical Psychologist Contract with Dr Reva Ballew.

The board heard and approved the first reading of proposed revisions to Board Policy #810 and #800. (Hyperlinks lead to the documents).

The board also approved an application for a $25,687.80 reimbursement from the Child and Adult care Food Program for food (afternoon snacks) delivered to various after school programs.


Carol Arnold presented an update on the Title I Program in Macon County.

Learn more about what Title I is at the following websites:

NC Dept of Public Instruction

NC Public Schools

Todd Gibbs presented information on renewing Macon Early College's participation in the Cooperative Innovative High School Program. The board approved.

Learn more at the following links:

NC General Statute Authorizing the program

Nancy Cantrell presented a College and Career Promise update.

Some of the information follows:

Macon county students are taking a total of 1,800 semester hours of credit, saving an estimated $135,000 in tuition, activity and tech fees based on $75 per semester hour of credit.

Breakdown by school: (School/Semester Hrs Credit/Est. cost savings)

Macon Early College  1,374 hrs credit for $103,050 of savings

Highlands School  73 hrs credit for $5,475 of savings
Nantahala School 33 hrs credit for $2,475 of savings
Franklin High School 320 hrs credit for $24,000 of savings

Dr Chris Baldwin, Superintendent of Macon County Schools, pointed out that the $75 per credit hour is what community colleges charge per credit hour. He said that WCU charges $300 a credit hour and other schools charge even more, some being triple that the savings would depend on what school the student attended.

Learn more about this program at the Dept of Public Instruction.


The board approved a request by Highlands Country Club to use a bus and discussed carpet replacement bids at Union Academy and Nantahala School. The board also approved shutting down the Owen House due to a failed inspection by the county Fire Marshal. Bringing the building up to code would be cost prohibitive, so the board directed Terry bell to investigate demolition options, including possible use by SCC during a live fire training class.

Board members also heard another update on the septic system at the old Cullasaja Elementary School. The school board has had the property for sale and is trying to maintain the septic system in order to help the property attract potential buyers.

The board discussed ongoing problems with the Drivers Education Car and voted to replace the car with a car that used to be used for Drivers Education and repair the current Drivers Education car and return it to the Board of Education fleet.

Maintenance Supervisor Tracy Tallent informed the board that his crew has salvaged $4,600 of scrap and requested that the amount be credited to his department for the purchase of tools. He mentioned that there would be additional salvage, as it was an ongoing process. The board approved  up $5,000 for that purpose.


The board voted to disburse $39,722 to the county for a School Resource Officer grant and amended the 2014-2015 Budget Resolution, a copy of which is below:


Dr Chris Baldwin shared information regarding the Franklin High School FFA Quiz Bowl Team competing on a national level. The board changed the November meeting date to December 15th at Nantahala School.  The board then voted to approve a proposed meeting calendar for 2015, a copy of which is posted below:

Dr Baldwin and the board also scheduled the swearing of board members who win the election on December 1st at 9 am. 


The board then went into closed session under NCGS 143.318.11 (a)(6) (click here to read the state statute that governs when public bodies can meet in closed session) and returned to open session 59 minutes later. Upon coming back into open session, Stephanie McCall motioned, and Melissa Evans seconded that Devon Deal, currently an Agricultural Teacher at Franklin High School,  following a closed session of the Macon County School Board, that a change in status for Devon Deal, Agriculture Teacher, Franklin High School,  to be named as Lead Teacher of Mountain View Intermediate School, effective date to be subject to naming her replacement at Franklin High School.


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