On Thursday, April 11 Orange County Schools Board Chair Brenda Stephens, Vice Chair Sarah Smylie, and Superintendent Todd Wirt attended Justice United's Countywide Leaders Meeting to report on their progress increasing teacher diversity and bi-lingual, front office staff. 40 Justice United members were in attendance at the Cedar Grove Community Center.
Their report covered the following:
- Line item detail on the $180,000 cost associated with the Equity Department (down from $350,000);
Clarity on how the $206,000 mentioned in the 2020 Superintendents Recommended Local Budget will be used for Recruitment and Talent Management;
Discussion of how staff and community members will be selected for a Recruitment and Retention Task Force, and the role of this task force;
The Board's strategy for hiring bi-lingual front office staff in every school.
After the OCS leadership left JU leaders continued our meeting to evaluate the report and to develop our strategy for our public assembly on Thursday, May 9, 7:00 pm at Lattisville Grove MBC (1701 Jimmy Ed Rd, Hurdle Mills).
These developments appear to be promising, and have potential to begin to address our concerns. However, in order for any of the above developments to become reality the Board of County Commissioners must first approve a per pupil funding increase requested by Orange County Schools which will fund these initiatives.
There will be two public hearings on Orange County's budget the week following our May 9 Assembly. Following our assembly, Justice United could organize turnout and support behind the Board of Education’s budget request to each of these hearings.
JU leaders invited Board Chair Stephens, Vice Chair Smylie, and Superintendent Wirt to attend our assembly on May 9 to be recognized for their progress addressing our concerns. Our action will be an opportunity for OCS leaders to make the case for supporting their per pupil funding increase.
Justice United leaders pledged to deliver 307 members to support this action. Have you confirmed your attendance to this important assembly? Please follow this link to RSVP today.