NEW HANOVER COUNTY, (WECT) - School leaders in New Hanover County learned what to expect from statewide changes for future school years.
Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley presented school board members with upcoming legislative changes and the next phase of Common Core standards at a work session Tuesday night.
An education in legislation
Markley said his biggest concern with the recent changes passed by the General Assembly is the voucher program, which allows students to use opportunity scholarships for private or charter schools.
The program gives public money to private institutions without the same oversight and standards that public school systems are expected to maintain.
After the work session, school board chairman Don Hayes said the superintendent made a good point.
"We don't mind the competition but we expect a level playing field where everybody is going by the same rules," he said.
Another change from legislators has removed the opportunity for what's known as Masters pay, which is the pay bump for instructors who have earned their Masters degree.
Markley said teachers have until December to finish any ongoing programs in order to be grandfathered in to the current pay level. He said lawmakers are considering an extension to the deadline so teachers will have time to finish any current programs.
Still, Markedly and Hayes said the change will make it difficult for New Hanover County and the state as a whole to attract new teachers.
"I think it will be harder," said Hayes. "But we already see that with pay scales and teachers from other states who aren't willing to relocate here because they'll be paid less."
Hayes said he's received numerous calls about the issue, and the school board will continue to work with local lawmakers about it.
Common core concerns
Dr. Derrick Hickey summed up his concerns with the common core standards as a board member and a parent of two school children.
"I have no clear understanding of common core," he said to the rest of the board.
To that, Markley said no one understands the new standards any less than the old ones, and that these will provide every school system a similar assessment.
Board members worked on a draft resolution to send a formal message about their concerns to lawmakers. Language in the resolution covers questions of common cores standards, assessments, implementation and financial commitment.
Hayes said the school board wants these concerns to be clarified.
"It's in no way trying to opt out or anything like that," he said. "They're concerns from around the state and, really, around the country."
The board will consider the resolution at a later meeting.
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