Yadkin County Board of Education members Tim Weatherman, Sam Crews and Howard McKnight were sworn in by Yadkin County Clerk of Court Beth Holcomb on Monday. The trio was reelected to serve on the school board in May.
Also sworn in were three students who will represent their respective schools at school board meetings during the upcoming school year. Abbey Johnson will represent Starmount High School, Riley Warfel will serve on behalf of Forbush High School and Erica Castillo-Duran will represent the Yadkin Early College High School.
At Monday’s meeting, it was reported that progress is being made on the reconstruction of the Courtney Elementary School gymnasium, which was destroyed by a tornado last year. The building is expected to be completed in October but could be finished as soon as this month.
The school board approved a fee increase for Chromebooks at the middle schools. The rate will go from $10 to $20 for students to use a Chromebook throughout the school year. Yadkin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin said the fee increase will help to cover costs of replacement and repairs for damaged Chromebooks.
The board also approved an update to the absence policy. Previously parents were alerted by letter when students had three, six and nine absences. The new policy now clarifies that those mailed notices will only occur for unexcused absences.
Five new scoreboards soon will be installed at Starmount High School. Martin said the old scoreboards have been experiencing technical difficulties and are quite outdated. The cost to replace the boards is $79,851. The cost will be financed through Kansas State Bank with the scoreboard company Major Display and Starmount raising money through advertising to pay off the cost of the new boards. Advertising revenue will be sold to display on each of the new scoreboards, including a video scoreboard in the football stadium.
“This is a lease on these scoreboards until such time as they are paid for. Major Display and the folks at Starmount feel like that they can sell enough ads to generate the revenue to pay back this, however the folks at Starmount understand that if the ad revenue falls short, ultimately it will be the school’s responsibility to pay for this and not the board of education’s,” Martin said.
Also discussed at Monday’s meeting was the possibility of random drug screenings for student athletes and those who drive to campus. Martin said this was done several years ago at the high schools but the policy had been discontinued. In light of the opioid crisis in the county, Martin said they wanted to consider reinstating the policy as a way to identify students with problems and find help for them.
The drug testing would be random for student athletes and those who participate in other extracurricular activities as well as those who drive to campus.
“The intent of this is not punitive. We are not trying to get kids in trouble. We’re trying to get students help. I need to be very clear on that, this is not to catch kids doing wrong, that’s not the intent. The intent is to identify students who might be using drugs or alcohol so that help can be provided for them,” Martin said.
Students who are selected for the random drug test and who test positive will be sent for counseling to local agency Turning Point.
Martin asked the board if it wanted to pursue the policy further and the members agreed to do so. He said the next step in the process would be to hold parent meetings and speak with coaches and other school administrators.
The next meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Education is Sept. 4 at the Yadkin County Schools Administration Building at 121 Washington St. in Yadkinville. Closed session begins at 6 p.m. with open session following.