Policy change to be considered

The next scheduled meeting of the Elkin City Schools Board of Education will take place on Monday evening with a likely vote on whether to change to the election policies that have been in place for more than four decades.

After last month’s meeting concluded, the board agreed to postpone the vote on Policy 2110, and move forward with a limited discussion on the topic. Once board members were given a chance to discuss opinions on the policy, the decision was made to postpone further action until the June meeting could be held and community input gathered.

The section of Policy 2110 that is in question reads: “Any person elected or appointed to the board and also employed by the board will resign his/her employment before taking office as a member of the board. No member of the immediate family of a member of the board of education may be employed by the school system, except for short-term or temporary employment.”

In an overview by the North Carolina School Board Association, the group left decisions on handling the election policies up to the local entities, but did make suggestions for changes to modify the wording that could limit those who serve on the board. The changes from the wording would remove the last sentence, opening spouses and family members of school board members to remain employed by the Elkin City School system on a full-time basis.

According to suggestions from board members during the last meeting, the wording may be modified but not completely changed. “I’m telling my age here but, what about children that work for the school system,” said Riley. “This is a small community and you’re really starting to limit candidates.”

In a recent meeting with ECS Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, Bledsoe stated that the board could decide to vote to amend the policy, allowing family members to work in the school system yet still omitting spouses from eligibility.

“The main thing I see that is important for the public to know is that this is not a state-driven policy, it’s internal,” said board member Frank Beals on whether the policy change should be given consideration. “The only ones really affected by this are the school board members and spouses.”

From Beals’ perspective, the policy to not allow spouses to work in the school system diminishes possible political issues and limits the potential conflict within households or the school system. From information gathered through conversations of spouses of previous board members, Beals concludes that hindsight has proven the policy beneficial.

“I spoke with three teachers, two thought it was a good thing to leave in and one didn’t,” Beals stated during the last school board meeting.

The policy in question was first instated in 1971 and since that time has remained unchanged.

Input and opinions on the subject are welcomed by board members by either contacting them or voicing an opinion at the school board meeting. The next meeting will be held on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Elkin City Schools central office.

Karen Holbrook may be reached at 336-258-4059 or on Twitter @KarenHolbrook00.

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