School board recommends new sex-ed program

The Moore County School Board recommended the curriculum for new puberty and reproductive health and safety education at its Aug. 1 work session.

During the Aug. 8 regular business meeting, Superintendent Tim Locklair will recommend endorsement of the modified East Carolina University materials to teach puberty and reproductive health and safety education.

The modified program reflects an in-depth overview of the curriculum.

School board member Robert Levy said the curriculum was a Moore County program, not a Wake County program.

“This is the most difficult course to create,” Levy said.

Any parent may access the curriculum through this link.

Vice Chair Libby Carter said the puberty and reproductive health and safety education program reflects community values integrated with state guidelines under Senate Bill 279.

Parents will receive letters to inform them they may opt in. The option allows parents to decide if their child should attend. 

The board discussed plans for the $25.3 million Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and assist learning loss and emotional needs.

The summer school program is covered under learning loss ESSER funds and 39% of the budget addresses learning loss.

 Board member David Hensley requested an individual student summer school cost from Locklair, and he said they had that information, and it would be shared.

“I think we’re spending two to three percent more per student,” Hensley said about the summer school budget which currently provides for 750 students.

“We have close to half of our kids who can’t read or do math on their grade level,” Levy said about requiring parents to sign a document to that fact, and parents would then send children to summer school.

Levy said he believed about 6,000 students should be in summer school.

Carter said summer school attendance cannot be enforced.

Locklair said there are consequences, such as holding a student back in a grade.

Dr. Mike Metcalf, chief officer for academics and student support services, said the $2,307,132 in budget savings may be directed in three areas for 2023. He recommended $1,100,000 for second through fifth grade Chromebook updates, $930,000 for state required teacher training, and $248,000 for CONNECT! Virtual Academy.

Hensley asked for a slide on the median pay of a Moore County teacher and a Moore County resident for the entire year for the next week’s presentation.

The budget presentation may be viewed here.

Locklair reviewed the revised media and technology operating procedures. On the top of page two, a reference to the Library Bill of Rights was removed.

The Library Bill of Rights prevents censorship.

Photo: The top of page two on 5410-R MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY SELECTION AND RECONSIDERATION PROCEDURES’ revision in progress was provided by Moore County Schools.

The revised document stated that no principal or teacher or individual may remove material from the media and technology department, but a committee must decide with a written report.

The board worked as a team to revise the document under state guidelines and referred the document back to the policy committee to bring back to the board at the next meeting.

The nutrition program requested $. 50 increase per breakfast and lunch to cover inflation increases.

There was a 27% increase in no-charge meals from 2019, the last normal year before COVID.

Currently, there is a 35% participation rate in reduced and free meals.

Levy said he would vote to revisit the request for an increase and call upon Congress to keep food costs at least where they are now.

The board reviewed the new K-8 social studies standards, curriculum and materials.

“Critical Race Theory does not raise its ugly head in our social studies curriculum,” Carter said.

Locklair said the materials are now posted for the public. Review here.

Levy described the materials as fair-minded.

“In terms of history…a lot of it depends on the teacher. Teachers can go into left field. We need to keep the lookout,” Levy said about helping students learn to make their own decisions with critical thinking through inquisitive learning.

Photo of Moore County Schools sign by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Melissa Schaub.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

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