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School board approves policy revisions, extends superintendent's contract


The Cumberland County Board of Education approved revisions to school policies, abiding by the "Parents’ Bill of Rights" — the controversial new state law regarding K-12 education — at its Tuesday meeting.

The board also approved a contract extension for Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr., among other administrative items. Here’s what you need to know: 

Policy revisions

Board members unanimously approved revisions to eight of its policies to now fall in line with N.C Senate Bill 49, after it became state law in August

The bill, also known as the "Parents’ Bill of Rights," outlines policies for public schools such as prohibiting instruction on “gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality” in kindergarten through 4th grade, and requires schools to notify parents before a student makes any pronoun or name changes as used by school staff or on official records. 

The new policies also detail the review process for parents who want to challenge certain educational material in classrooms. 

Contract extensions for superintendent and cabinet

In a 6-3 vote, the board approved a one-year extension of Connelly’s contract, as well as an additional 96 hours of bonus leave. The extension takes Connelly's employment agreement out to June 30, 2024.

Deanna Jones, Judy Musgrave and Carrie Sutton voted against the measure. Jones, Musgrave and Sutton each discussed concerns with the increases in low performing schools under Connelly's watch. 

“I do not take this decision lightly,” Jones said. “My biggest thing is the (number of) low-performing schools jumping from 18 to 27.” 

Schools classified as “low performing” both received a performance grade of D or F on the most recent statewide assessment and had their school growth categorized as “met expected growth” or “not met expected growth,” according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

A second vote was held to extend the contracts of Connelly’s cabinet members by one year, which was ultimately approved in a 7-2 vote, with Jones and Musgrave voting against the measure. 

Baseball stadium name change 

The baseball stadium at Gray’s Creek High School will be renamed to Jeff Nance Stadium — honoring the school’s long-time coach. The new name is now set to be officially revealed prior to a March 6, 2024, home baseball game. 

Extra Mile Award 

Brentwood Elementary School Head Custodian Thomas Wade from received the first Extra Mile Award of the 2023-24 school year for assisting a parent in fixing a flat tire during school drop-off.

Other items of business 

Board members approved the purchase of 25 vans and trucks from local dealerships at a cost of $1,559,618. Vehicles are usually purchased through a state contract, but vehicle shortages have caused manufacturers to set limits on the number of vehicles that can be purchased by each customer. The vehicles will be purchased from Lafayette Ford, Piedmont Truck Center and Randy Marion Ford. 

The board also approved contracts for its Exceptional Children’s program at a cost of $331,540. The contracts are with n2y, a special needs curriculum provider, and Public Consulting Group, a professional development firm. 

Board members also voted to renew contracts with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office to provide CCS with school resource officers.

The board meets again at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21 at 810 Gillespie St. 

Contact Char Morrison at cmorrison@cityviewnc.com.

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Cumberland County school board BOE Connelly parents bill of rights