The Clinton City Board of Education took actions during its recent meeting to approve two requests from the system’s administration, first voting on a revised financing package for an activity bus and then voting to ease high school students’ stress and exhaustion brought on by exams by granting them shorter school days during the testing period.
Activity Bus Financing
Following a county commissioners’ decision in December to decline the system’s request for financing the purchase of an activity bus for a five-year term, schoo administrators returned to the Clinton City Board of Education Tuesday evening, requesting they approve another way to move forward.
Clyde Locklear, assistant superintendent for finance and facilities, asked that members ratify a three-year financing option, still with First Citizens Bank, for the activity bus which they approved for purchase last month.
The three-year term will be $34,365 at a 1.54 percent interest rate; five-year financing would have been $21,025 at a 1.69 percent interest rate.
Locklear added that the administration also needed board authorization for himself and superintendent Stuart Blount to sign the financing documents.
School board member Jason Walters made a motion to approve both the revised financing package and the authorization for Locklear and Blount to sign the documents needed for financing. Vice chairman E.R. Mason provided the needed second. As in December with the initial vote concerning the purchasing and financing of the activity bus, fellow school board member Carol Worley again recused herself from the vote due to her employment with First Citizens Bank. The motion carried with a unanimous vote from the five remaining board members.
The city school system has been pursuing the purchase of an activity bus for a few months now, wanting to replace the oldest of the system’s six activity buses — five activity buses plus one mini-bus — currently in its fleet.
“We have an activity bus that needs to be replaced,” stressed Locklear in December, explaining that the 25-year-old bus, which has traveled around 825,000 miles, needed to be swapped out due to major engine problems that would cost the system thousands to repair.
The cost of the replacement bus — a 72-passenger, large capacity Carolina Thomas bus from State Term Contract which is expected to be delivered sometime this month — will come to $88,384, he added then, a price that is at the low end of the previously anticipated range of $88,000 to $90,000. The cost does not include the expenses associated with applicable tax, tags, and title fees.
“I see that as an extremely wise investment,” said Blount back in December about replacing the old activity bus. “I’m not sure there are many systems in the state of North Carolina that have 825,000 miles on a bus, transporting children and doing it safely. I think it has truly lived its life. I respect the decision of the commissioners, but we’re looking at it from two different perspectives. We feel this is a need and a realistic request…The difference in the financing cost was minimal. Five years would have been less than $2,100 more.”
CHS Early Dismissal
Lenora Locklear, K-12 curriculum and instruction director, came before the board Tuesday night with a request from Clinton High School’s administration to shorten the school days for students next week during exams.
Locklear pointed out that the window of time that the high school has to administer exams has become smaller — only five days — and that students have to spend hours in testing each day.
Students will spend at least four hours taking End-Of-Course (EOC) exams and at least two hours completing N.C. Final Exams, she shared, explaining that the hours of testing can be quite exhausting for youth.
Following conversations with both Clinton High principal Dr. Steven Miller and vice principal Robert Turlington, Locklear asked that school board members approve early dismissal at 1 p.m. for the high school both next week during fall exams as well as in June during spring exams.
School board member Diane Viser made a motion to approve the early dismissal request with Worley offering the second. The request was approved with a unanimous vote.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.