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Board votes to leave Waccamaw district lines alone

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By Kathryn Jacewicz, Staff writer

The Brunswick County Board of Education voted Tuesday to amend its redistricting plans for the 2009-2010 school year, leaving all current Waccamaw School students unaffected by the newly drafted lines.

When the board approved the redistricting lines in March, they did not realize a small portion of students currently in the Waccamaw district would be rerouted to Shallotte Middle School. The board was under the impression from the start of the redistricting process Waccamaw would not be affected in anyway, Shirley Babson, board chairwoman, said.

After approving the redistricting, the board heard complaints from parents of about 25-30 students that were affected. As Waccamaw was not intended to be included in redistricting, parents never received notification of the change,

Steve Miley, executive director of operations, said during the fourth revision, lines for Waccamaw middle school students were changed to line up with the elementary district. The inclusion of these students was also to help fill Shallotte Middle School, after students were taken away from the school to fill Cedar Grove Middle School this fall.

Superintendent Katie McGee recommended the board amend its redistricting plans to allow Waccamaw students to remain unaffected by redistricting for the 2009-2010 school year.

“I just really feel that it was overlooked to not informed the Waccamaw area the way we should have,” she said. “I think the fair thing to do is to leave the Waccamaw district as it was in the 2009 school year.”

When asked by a Waccamaw parent at Tuesday’s meeting if that meant Waccamaw could be affected by redistricting after 2010, McGee said the district makes decisions “one year at a time.”

“When we went into this whole redistricting issue, we were trying to make as many plans as we could for the future,” she said. “We have to district where the population is. It is an area that we may have to go back and revisit at some point in time, but not for the 2009-2010 school year.”

McGee said she takes “full responsibility” for the oversight, but stated her appreciation for the concerned parents who brought the issue to the board. Babson agreed it was an oversight, and not intended to affect the Waccamaw district.

“There was a misunderstanding. We were told in the beginning that Waccamaw would not be affected,” she said. “I never questioned that area because we had said Waccamaw would not be affected.”

UNIFORM POLICY

The board also voted Tuesday night to amend and accept the proposed uniform policy, which will go into effect at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year for Belville, Lincoln and Town Creek Elementary Schools.

The newly drafted uniform policy states uniforms “will help minimize disruptive behavior, promote respect for oneself and others, build school/community spirit, and more significantly, help to maintain high academic standards.”

Shirts must be collared and have only buttons. They must be solid colors and have either short, long or 3/4-length sleeves. Shirts must be tucked in at all times. No labels, graphics or insignias are allowed, except for the individual school’s logo.

Pants must be solid khaki, navy blue or black and have no more than four pockets. If the pants have belt loops, a belt must be worn. Belts must be black or brown. Graphics, studs and large buckles are not allowed. Pants are to be worn above the hips, cannot be frayed and not drag on the floor.

Sweatpants, denim, nylon and spandex are not allowed.

Skirts, dresses, shorts and skorts are allowed under the same rules, but must not be shorter than four inches above the knee.

Socks must be white, black, brown, khaki or navy and must match. Shoes with laces must be tied at all times. Laces must be white, black or the color of the shoes. Bedroom shoes, flip-flops, shower shoes or stiletto heels are not allowed.

Students not in compliance with the uniform policy will be referred to the principal or another school administrator. The parents or guardians will be contacted and required to bring the students’ uniform to school.

Those not in compliance with the policy could face disciplinary actions, “up to and including suspension,” according to the policy.

The board amended the policy to include various wording changes as suggested by the North Carolina State Board of Education legal counsel.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the board:

• Approved an interim budget resolution. Freyja Cahill, executive finance officer, said the interim budget will allow the district to pay bills and payroll while waiting for the state to finalize its budget, which is expected to reduce its local shares by 5 percent. The interim budget is set at 95 percent of the district’s current operating budget in anticipation of the reduction.