Buncombe to approve vendor to study school district consolidation

The possible consolidation of Buncombe County’s two public school districts will get a little more real on Tuesday, March 19.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is set to approve staff’s recommended vendor, Charlotte-based Prismatic Services, to perform the study for about $300,000. Staff chose Prismatic for its strong understanding of the two districts, prior research, experience and value, according to a presentation. (Six additional bids ranged from $57,000-$1.5 million.)

If approved, an 11-person team will make 19 site visits over the next nine months, interviewing district and community leaders, observing operations, and analyzing, according to the presentation.

Upon completion, Prismatic will present its findings to both the Asheville City and Buncombe County boards of education and county commissioners.

The county has until February 15, 2025 to report findings and recommendations from the study to the N.C. General Assembly, according to state law.

In other news

Buncombe County’s human resources department is looking to update its personnel policies, including creating a stand-alone overtime pay policy and updating its benefits, leave and supplemental pay policies as part of its annual policy review.

The overtime pay policy clarifies which departments receive overtime, which is pay received outside of an employee’s normal working hours, according to a staff presentation.

Staff recommends adding the loss of a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth as reasons to take funeral or bereavement leave, among other changes.

Staff also recommends the county increase the stipend amount for bilingual employees with conversational and reading and writing skills in multiple languages from $100 to $125 per paycheck. The increase would result in a $7,800 increase per fiscal year, according to the presentation.

Additionally, county commissioners will consider a budget amendment to spend $500,000 for a master plan for A-B Technical Community College. The A-B Tech/Buncombe County Joint Capital Advisory Committee recommended extending and updating the plan, which expires this year, for another 10 years. The plan will be paid for using sales tax revenue.

Consent agenda

The consent agenda for the meeting contains one item, a resolution to approve a fireworks display at the Biltmore Estate.

The full agenda and supporting documents for the regular meeting can be found at this link. There will be a briefing meeting proceeding the regular meeting at 3 pm. The agenda was not posted as of press time.

In-person public comment will be taken at the start of the regular meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in room 326 at 200 College St., Asheville; no voicemail or email comments will be permitted. Both the briefing and the regular meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s Facebook page and will subsequently be available via YouTube.



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4 thoughts on “Buncombe to approve vendor to study school district consolidation

  1. Alan Ditmore

    It’s obvious that if 2 districts ban different books, they cannot possibly then consolidate.

  2. indy499

    This should happen, but won’t. $300k later and all we’ll have is a big fat study to put in the big fat study library.

    • Hiram

      But maybe tourists would buy tickets to tour the big fat study library when all the other libraries have closed…? Of course, there should be some big fat study beer…

  3. Mike Rains

    This study was mandated by the NC State Legislature. They also recently forced Buncombe County to develop a different plan to elect school board members.

    I would give even odds that this go around the school systems will be encouraged/forced to merge. Local leaders will never have the political will to do it, so prods from the state are required.

    Like most changes, it won’t be near as bad as some envision and in reality will likely result in greater opportunities for students and parents, a better run system for Asheville parents and at an overall lower cost.

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