Suggestion to teach Dunn elementary students in two languages.
By TOM WOERNER
Of The Record Staff
The Harnett County School Board presented a wish list this week of spending needs for the upcoming school year which calls for an additional $3.6 million in current expense spending including extra money for all staff members.
County commissioners heard the request of the school board and asked for more information on who will receive a proposed $1,000 bonus.
County Commissioners Board Chairman Gordon Springle questioned the school board’s request to spread the teacher supplement to staff members other than teachers. The move would cost approximately $527,580, according to the school budget request.
Mr. Springle asked for specific information on who will get the supplement.
The chairman said he, former Board Chairman Jim Burgin, former school board member and current Commissioner Howard Penny and School Board Chairman Bill Morris worked on a way to spend money secured by state Rep. David Lewis and state Sen. Ronald Rabin. The money, which comes from a new sales tax distribution formula, was allotted for several things including education, the local community college and economic development. Mr. Springle wants to see it allotted that way.
“We can’t spend all this money on education,” he said.
The $1,000 supplement was part of the spending plan and was originally meant for only teachers who were with the system at least one full year and interim Superintendent Aaron Fleming wants more people included.
“We think it is important to ex- See Supplements, Page 3 Supplements
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tend the supplement to all our certified staff members,” Mr. Fleming said.
Mr. Springle said the result of the discussions with state leaders needs to be followed.
“This is a gift from the commissioners and it needs to be followed. It is not part of your supplement plan,” Mr. Springle said. “The original idea was we wanted to reward classroom teachers for staying with us.”
Mr. Springle said he is not against the supplement, he just wants clarification.
Mr. Morris agreed to provide commissioners with a detailed list of who the board recommends should get the $1,000 bonus.
Mr. Fleming included several other projects in the budget request.
This year’s proposal calls for $581,617 to be spent on a new early college program that is being established in Dunn. That will allow some students to complete both their high school graduation requirements and community college credits while still in the local school system. The program is being held at the Central Carolina Community College Dunn Center which was formerly the old Harnett High School.
Mr. Fleming said he is in discussions with people in the Dunn attendance area about a dual immersion program in the Dunn area, at Harnett Primary School. There are similar programs in other locations in the county including at North Harnett Primary, Coats Elementary and Boone Trail Elementary.
Two languages, English and an additional language, are part of the instructional curriculum in the dual immersion program. In most cases, including at all three schools in Harnett County, the second language used is Spanish. There are some cases in North Carolina where other languages, including Mandarin Chinese, are used in the dual immersion model.
Mr. Fleming is open to the idea of using languages other than Spanish.
“We would like to do something different, something the people of Dunn could be proud of,” Mr. Fleming said.
Mr. Fleming said the program could possibly be paid for through a special tax that is levied on residents of the Dunn area to pay for programs in the Dunn school. More discussions are scheduled before decisions are made on using the special school tax funding.
The budget request included funding multiple capital improvements throughout the system. The largest ticket item is more than $500,000 for an expansion of the dining area at Overhills High School.
Mr. Fleming also said there is an immediate need to replace school buses in the county.
Commissioners will consider the schools’ request upon receipt of the additional information relating to the teacher bonus.