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School board ponders a policy on ... drones?

LOUISBURG -- What do drones have to do with public education in Franklin County? Perhaps a bit more than is apparent at first glance and that's the reason the Board of Education is considering a drone use policy that was presented Monday night during a routine meeting of the board.

The policy -- which covers six typed pages and was developed by the North Carolina Board of Education -- is designed to "define and regulate the use of unmanned aircraft" around school facilities and it comes as drone use has become almost commonplace in today's world.

Sometimes the unmanned aerial devices are involved in classroom work, sometimes to aid with maintenance issues like roof evaluations and sometimes they may be used to record or monitor outdoor activities like football games.

But regardless of how the drones are used, the school board is crafting a policy to see that their use complies with Federal Aviation Administration or North Carolina Department of Transportation regulations and is taking steps to keep their operation safe for students and staff.

In addition, the policy prohibits the for-profit sale of any data or information gathered by a drone and stipulates that a drone cannot be used inside a school or other building on school property without express written approval from the superintendent.

The entire policy -- which will be voted on at the board's November meeting -- is on the district's website to give the public a chance to review and comment. It is one of several proposed policies that are on the website and scheduled for November votes.

The drone policy was one of a handful of relatively routine items handled by the school board Monday night, including a review of School Improvement Plans (SIPs) that also brought all the district's school principals to the meeting.

The policies, which are individualized by each of the district's 12 schools, were briefly outlined by Dr. Lela Baldwin, chief of academics, who explained how the SIPs are created and broken down for implementation.

She noted that part of the SIPs involves goal setting, including strategies, timetables and ways to measure the progress of students.

The SIPs include both mission and vision statements which are prepared by each school and include up to 12 indicators of areas where the staff at each school believes need additional focus.

The school staffs then write goals for three to five of the indicators which they agree they will focus on for the school year.

Dr. Baldwin presented the board with electronic copies of each school's SIP for their review. She also noted that the SIPs represent a "continuous process" of adding goals and working to meet them.

In other action Monday night, the school board agreed to lease a couple of unused offices to the Franklin County Arts Council, which recently decided it had to leave its downtown Louisburg location after the cost of rent increased.

The Arts Council was offered a lease on two rooms in the Franklin County School Annex building adjacent to Mitchell Media Center and near the Cooperative Extension office in Louisburg.

Introducing the idea to the school board, Dr. Larry Webb, chief of auxiliary services, noted that the Arts Council has been a long-time partner with Franklin County Schools, bringing several arts-related activities for students as well as helping the school district receive more than $28,000 in grants over the last three years.

"They do a lot for our schools, they are an outstanding group," said board member Tommy Piper.

The board unanimously agreed to a memorandum of understanding that will cost the Arts Council $1,400 a year for two offices that are currently not being used. The arts council also must maintain a $1 million liability insurance policy during the time it uses the building.

The school board also reset its November meeting because of Veterans Day. The board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, the first Monday of the month instead of its traditional second Monday meeting.

In personnel action Monday night, the board:

• ACCEPTED the resignations of these certified personnel: Allison Brown, Early College H.S., counselor; Ashley Bumpers, Louisburg Elementary, Grade 3 teacher; Lauren Gentile, Royal Elementary, Grade 4 teacher; Michael Kearney, Franklinton High, digital media teacher; Taylor McGlothlin, Bunn High, teacher-science; Anthony Tracey, Terrell Lane Middle, assistant principal; Stephanie Weber, Bunn Middle, Grade 8 ELA teacher.

• ACCEPTED the resignations of these classified personnel: Deanne Barber, Bunn Elementary, data manager/receptionist; Tammy Bell, Central Office, benefits/clerical support; Joseph Fogg, Franklinton Middle, bus driver; Johnnie Mclawhorn, Louisburg Elementary, EC teacher assistant; Cordeja Thomas, Louisburg Elementary, teacher assistant; Gina Weaver, Royal Elementary, child nutrition asst/bus driver; Kamitra Winborne, Louisburg High, long-term substitute.

• HIRED these certified personnel: Diane Cooley, WRRA, EC support; Kevin Endres, Terrell Lane Middle, music teacher; Chelsea Hinton, Louisburg Elementary, EC general curriculum teacher; Laura Owens, Louisburg Elementary, speech/lang pathologist; Melissa Smith, Youngsville Elementary, Grade 2 teacher.

• HIRED Administration personnel: Josh Griffin, Central Office, director of testing and accountability.

• HIRED these classified personnel: April Abbott, Royal Elementary, treasurer/receptionist; Craig Adams, Jr., Transportation, EC & reg sub bus driver; Farah Alawar, District-Wide, translator/interpreter; Christopher Chappell, Transportation, Mechanic I; Jasmine Edwards, Franklinton Elementary, child nutrition assistant; Evelyn Harris, Louisburg Elementary, child nutrition assistant; Alicia Hinton, Edward Best Elementary, teacher assistant; Esther Morgan, Franklinton Middle, non-faculty asst. volleyball coach; Maria LeFrancois, District-Wide, translator/interpreter; Susanna Rodriguez, District-Wide, translator/interpreter; Tracey Southerland-Johnson, Franklinton High, child nutrition manager; Larry VanHoose, Jr., non-faculty assistant soccer coach Franklinton Middle.

• HIRED as substitute teachers Ernestine Allen, Angela Denton, Elizabeth Henry, Naomi Jordan, Linda Keith, Robert Lusk, Brittini Pittman-Bryant and Carly Rowe.

• HIRED as a child nutrition substitute Alicia Hinton, selected sites.


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