NEWS RELEASES 2015-16 :: AUGUST 10, 2015


Citing examples of unaddressed recommendations and heightened concern for the students, teachers, principals and staff in Halifax County Schools (HCS), the State Board of Education today sent a letter to the Halifax Board of Education stating that it will take a more direct role in the district's budget, employment decisions and student course assignment decisions effective immediately. The Board stressed that it is acting on behalf of the students in the district to support their quality education.

"We are concerned that the Halifax Board is making decisions that are unaffordable and that undermine the many quality teachers and principals who are trying to make a difference for students," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey.

The Halifax County Board agreed to comply with a Court Order in 2009 to "fully cooperate with the State Board of Education to improve educational opportunities for students enrolled in Halifax County public schools" and since that time NCDPI has placed employees of its District and School Transformation division in the schools and central office in Halifax County to support better instruction for students and to guide policy decisions that matter the most. This activity has provided hands-on teacher support – with DPI staff often working side-by-side in classrooms - and principal and central office coaches to improve professionalism and decision making.

Teachers and principals in Halifax have made progress with student achievement with the assistance of District and School Transformation staff. Today's actions are intended to improve the environment for teaching and learning.

In a letter to the Halifax Board members, Cobey directed three actions of the Halifax Board of Education:

  • submitting the Halifax budget for detailed review by the State Board of Education or its designees;
  • requiring all employment actions to be approved by the SBE or designees;
  • requiring that the district enroll middle and high school students in the NC Virtual Public School when there is not a licensed teacher employed to teach a course required for high school graduation.

These three directives will address concerns about unsustainable financial commitments that the Halifax Board has made, poor personnel decisions and poor instructional decisions that shortchange student learning.

For more information on this issue, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction Communications division, 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.