Packed RSS board agenda includes emergency powers, contracts, contingencies

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 7, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY — Emergency powers for Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Lynn Moody are on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Board of Education.

The resolution would “allow the superintendent authority to take any lawful actions necessary to ensure the continuation of public education, to provide for the health and safety of students and employees, or to respond to direction from appropriate health and government authorities.” Emergency powers were brought up during a called meeting of the board May 28 after discussion veered off the agenda and into approval of premium pay for more district employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The board opted to allow Moody to use discretion to put premium pay in place before Monday’s meeting rather than approve an item not part of the agenda at a called meeting. Board attorney Ken Soo said there is a reasonable legal argument for Moody to do so given the circumstances.

Approval of the expanded premium pay, which is on the consent agenda for the meeting, would extend a modified version of the forgiven time measure to the remaining front line workers in the district.

Workers directly connected to meal distribution were already working three days a week and being paid for four. Now, custodial, maintenance and technology employees will work four eight-hour days during the summer instead of the standard 10-hour days.

The agenda is filled with contracts as well, with renewals for a software contract with Microsoft, partnership and “techbooks” from Discovery Education and the education service Learning A-Z.

The contract for a new partnership with Kelly Education, a company that administers substitute teaching services, is also on the consent agenda after it was discussed at two recent meetings and the board agreed to move forward with contract negotiations.

Kelly is anticipated to provide substitute services at a very similar cost the district was able to manage in house, but is anticipating a higher placement rate, and the partnership comes with professional development, benefits and no hour limit for substitutes.

At the meeting the board will also be viewing contracts for education assessment services from Infrastructure and Certica. The combination of services would cost the district $211,132.85 per year for the next three three years. The contracts are recommended by an assessment platform committee.

Infrastructure is the company behind the education platform Canvas.

Other items for discussion at the meeting:

  • Assistant Superintendent of Transformation Andrew Smith will present to the board about contingency planning for re-entry in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Associate Superintendent of Resources Carol Herndon will deliver a report on performance for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • North Rowan Middle School will present its renewal plan to the board for approval.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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