The New Hanover Board of Education discusses seclusion and restraint, gives fingerprint update

The New Hanover Board of Education votes on seclusion and restraint, makeup work policy, gives fingerprint update
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 11:43 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Board of Education met for their regular June meeting on Tuesday night and discussed multiple agenda items.

A debate that’s been ongoing for over a year, seclusion rooms and restraining students in schools. Tonight the board was scheduled to hear data on seclusion rooms in schools, however, the Board of Education has yet to receive the data they have been asking for from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. They have stated they will continue to increase training to advise against seclusion.

““I trust that they’re going to continue working toward that goal of absolute minimization of the practice,” said School Board Member Nelson Beaulieu.

Another topic the board has been waiting to hear on update on is requiring fingerprints for staff of New Hanover County schools. Tonight, staff told the board that all members of New Hanover County Schools are required to undergo fingerprint screening before working in the school system, and they’re also requiring current employees to partake in the process.

The board was also given an update on the budget that’s been in the works for the 2022-2023 school year. The plan they heard tonight is just preliminary, and not set in stone.

Currently, they are at a deficit of $17 million dollars to fund all of the school system’s needs for next year. They still have a long way to go, but if they approve the budget as presented tonight, they would have to cut 330 positions by the 2025 fiscal year. That’s not a step some board members are willing to take.

“I can promise the citizens of New Hanover County and our staff it’s a budget I’ll never vote for,” Beaulieu said. “So if that’s the option presented, it’s not a price I’m willing to pay.”

The board will have a work session on June 21st to further discuss the budget and ask questions to try and move forward with a plan.

An extra $16,000 is included for next year’s budget to fund the fingerprinting system the school system implemented. Another big expense, raising the minimum wage to $17 an hour throughout New Hanover County Schools.

The state requires a set-in-stone budget by July 1st, so the board voted on Tuesday night to make a resolution to continue to operate the school systems incase they aren’t able to come up with a proper budget by then.

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