City school board approves changes to open enrollment policy

Published 5:32 pm Friday, April 22, 2022

A new policy would require Elizabethton city schools to release information about the availability of spots prior to the start of open enrollment and provide for a lottery system for filling those open spots.
The policy approved Thursday requires the school system to release the total number of spots available at each of the three schools — Harold McCormick, East Side, and West Side Elementary — and the grades those spots are available in at least 30 days prior to the start of the open enrollment period.
If there are more students requesting the school and grade, then a lottery process will be used to determine which students fill those spots.
The BOE also approved the Pre-Monitoring Supports Grant in agreement with Blackburn, Childers, & Steagall, CPAs.
“This state grant allows us to utilize our auditors to assist us with our ESSER funds,” said Director of Schools Richard VanHuss. “It is another layer of protection for us because in a lot of ways it is a moving target and this gives us another set of eyes.”
Another grant that received approval was a $200,000 Best for All-District Grant the city was eligible for due to utilizing 50% of their ESSER funds on improving the outcome for students.
VanHuss told the BOE that there has been a tremendous success in tutoring at the elementary level but missed out on the same level at the high school.
He proposed using the grant money for tutoring students in math, particularly Algebra I but possibly including geometry, and for the purchase of software that will allow teachers to monitor students’ use of Chromebooks during class time.
Approval was given to create a full-time teacher position and full-time teacher assistant position in support of providing in-school math support at EHS for the 2022-2023 school year or until the grant funding is exhausted.
The BOE agreed to ratify a contract between the Elizabethton City Board of Education and Chasity Chartier, PsyD., for psychological services for Elizabethton City Schools from April 18, 2022 through June 30, 2023.
“There is a shortage across the nation for psychological services and it puts a tremendous burden on just two people,” VanHuss said.
Two part-time summer interns and a grant manager was approved to utilize funding received through the American Rescue Plan (ARP): Humanities Grant for Libraries to gather information and artifacts to create the Douglas School archives.
VanHuss informed the BOE that he continues to follow the potential new funding formula that is progressing through the state House and Senate legislatures.
“It’s looking promising, but at the conclusion both will have to come to an agreement after some amendments have been added so far,” VanHuss said. “Letters have been sent from regional directors voicing their support for the new funding formula.”
The next school board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on May 19.

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