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Board receives funds despite economic hardships

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By Kathryn Jacewicz, Staff writer

BOLIVIA—Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram presented The Brunswick County Board of Education with a check for $67,148.42 Tuesday night. The money, which came from the county’s seized drug fund, is something board chairwoman Shirley Babson hopes to in turn use towards drug education and awareness within the schools.

“I hoped we might use some of it to look into the abuse of prescription drugs,” she said Tuesday, it is “so widespread, particularly into the high school.”

A recent TV program Babson saw said the drug was over, but she believes that is not the case within most schools

“When you talk to students, you get a different picture there,” she said.

Board member Charlie Miller, also chief deputy of the sheriff’s office, said Ingram is committed to partnering with the schools and eliminating as many drugs from the county as possible.

“[Ingram] is extremely committed to the school system and getting them the funding they need,” he said.

In addition to receiving money from the seized drug fund, the board voted to approve a leasing agreement with the state in regards to replacement buses. Freja Cahill, executive financial officer, said the state replaces the buses and there will be a total of eight replacements this year. The school system purchases the first buses, but the state covers the replacement costs.

The total for the eight replacement buses is $649,000, which is entirely state funded. Steve Miley, executive director of operations, said buses that have more than 170,000 miles or certain amounts of maintenance requirements are aged out and replaced.

While on the topic of buses, Babson said she had heard several complaints from parents asking why the county buses are not equip with seat belts for all student riders. Miley said according to the North Carolina Department of Instruction, safety testing shows students are more safe without being strapped into a school bus seat, as it allows for easier access in an emergency situation.

The board also briefly discussed its upcoming committee meeting at 4 p.m. Jan. 13, where redistricting routes will be presented. Superintendent Katie McGee said the committee has taken much time and consideration while putting plans together, making sure roads that do not show up on county maps are overlooked and redistricting lines do not divide a street or neighborhood in half.

Following the board’s committee meeting, two public hearings will be held to present the redistricting plans to the public.

Two public forums are scheduled after the board’s committee meeting. A public forum regarding Cedar Grove Middle School redistricting will be at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Supply Elementary School gymnasium.

A public forum regarding Town Creek Elementary School redistricting will be at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Leland Middle School gymnasium.