Asheville City Schools’ October 19 Special Called Meeting board brief

Press release from Asheville City Schools:

During tonight’s Special Called Meeting, the Asheville City Board of Education unanimously approved a change to the 2021-2022 calendar.  Monday, November 22nd and Tuesday, November 23rd will now become Required Teacher Workdays for all ACS staff. 

Staff and students should use these two days to rest, reflect and reset as we prepare for the remainder of the 1st semester.  Asynchronous instruction will NOT be given, and all our buildings will be closed. 

As it is a Required Teacher Workday, all staff will be paid by Asheville City Schools.  However, because our dual employees will not be driving a bus, they will not receive pay from Buncombe County Schools on Monday or Tuesday. 

An updated calendar can be found here

Georgia Harvey, Chief Finance Officer, also gave a presentation about the district’s budget process. 

She explained that Asheville City Schools’ funding sources include:   
  • Revenue directly from the federal government 
  • Federal revenues that are passed through the State 
  • Per pupil revenue provided by the State 
  • Asheville City Schools’ Local Option Sales Tax, which can be used for both local current expenses or capital improvements 
  • The School Capital Fund Commission’s Article 39 Sales Tax, which can only be used for capital improvements based on approval by the Commission
  • The School Capital Fund Article 40/42 Sales Tax, which can only be used for capital improvements and/or fixed assets
  • Additional tax allotments based on our county’s population size 
  • Lottery proceeds, which can only be used on capital improvements with approval from the County Commission and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction 

And, since Spring 2021, the district has saved over $500,000 in unreplaced Central Office Administrative positions, approximately $200,000 in operational service contracts and, to date, approximately  $250,000 as departments have reviewed their budgets, eliminating unnecessary expenses.  

Harvey also laid out a typical Board Review of budget reductions, which could include: 
  • Baseline budgeting from the prior year’s actual expenditures
  • Identifying non-essential programs/services that can be eliminated or reduced without reducing staff
  • A “hiring freeze,” which is a process to closely examine all new positions and vacancies and only fill essential positions that directly impact student instruction 
  • Separating recurring expenses from one-time or temporarily funded positions based on their source 
  • Analyzing facilities and their potential student capacity, with the possibility of the consolidation of facilities 
However, she explained that it will ultimately be up to the Board to determine next steps based on their established district priorities. 

The Asheville City Schools Budget Resolution was also unanimously approved by the Board of Education during tonight’s meeting. 

In response to Board Member requests, a presentation was also made regarding each school’s historical & current enrollment, the current student capacity at each school based on staffing and the current percentage of white students & students of color at each school. 
  • As of Tuesday, October 19th, Asheville City Schools has 4,143 students enrolled in Kindergarten – 12th Grade.  
  • The district’s potential student capacity across all schools is 4,652.  This means we currently have 509 available spots. 
    • This number has been determined based on the amount of staff we could potentially have in each building as well as by adjusting our local caps.
      • Currently, the General Assembly has created a maximum number of students that should be in each classroom for Kindergarten – 3rd Grade, and Asheville City Schools has set a local cap for 4th – 12th Grade.  To support an increase in student capacity, the local classroom cap for core instruction could be raised to 25 students in Grades 4 – 8. 
    • At this time, Asheville City Schools is currently accepting out-of-district applications for students in 1st – 8th Grade.  We are not accepting applications for out-of-district students in Grades 9 – 12 due to staff availability.  For more information about our enrollment process, click here
  • A racial breakdown of our current student population can be found below: 

Ian Nelson, Director of Testing, also gave a presentation about ACS’s 2020-2021 test results. 

“I believe these results give us data to support just how difficult last year was with school closures, class quarantines and remote learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Gene Freeman. “Our results mirror those of many districts across the county, and as the leader of our district, I’m proud of the work our students and staff were able to accomplish during one of the most unprecedented times in our country’s history.” 

The Board of Education will be hosting its next Special Called Work Session on October 25th at 5:15 PM in the Board Room located at 85 Mountain Street.  The meeting can also be streamed on the district’s YouTube page.
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