SCS committees express concerns for IB program

Stanly County Schools Instructional Program and Finance committees expressed concerns over North Stanly High School’s International Baccalaureate program Tuesday night.

During the Instructional Committee meeting, Dr. Amy Blake-Lewis, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, presented concerns regarding the program.

Parts of the program will cost more money. The 3D art would cost $2,000 annually instead of an expected $400.

Additional staff would also be required to teach classes for a year and not just on a semester schedule.

The program’s actual costs would be somewhere between $112,000 and $120,000 and would have to be paid before school opens Aug. 17.

Those figures would be paid at least in the first year for 14 seniors who signed up for the course.

Staff also presented information about the cost for maintaining status as an IB candidate while possibly delaying the program. The cost could either be $9,500 or as much as $18,000.

Blake-Lewis said SCS staff has not been privy to any professional development in connection with the program.

Since the upcoming year would be the first for the IB program, concerns were also raised about the ability to do the program during the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of having to go to full remote learning in the fall.

Blake-Lewis said if the IB program was put on hold it would not change the graduation path of any of the seniors signed up for it. They would be moved into AP classes to receive higher level instruction.

Committee Chairwoman Patty Crump said “even if we had 30 gung-ho kids, we are not prepared at this point” in terms of starting the program.

The committee decided to bring the question forward at Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Education.

At the Finance meeting, Chairman Jeff Chance asked, “Can we justify $120,000 for 14 students without specifically knowing at this point how to fund that program?”

Board member Anthony Graves said even if the program had the materials it needed the situation is “less than ideal to deliver on what we should be able to deliver.”

The Finance Committee also decided to bring the issue before the full Board of Education Wednesday.