Gatewood explained that in 2005, he helped start local nonprofit organization HOLLA!, which has been working closely with the school system ever since. Gatewood said that as the school board's ethics statement was read by chair Lisa Davis and when he attended an ethics Webinar last week, he realized "there were going to be a lot of things that (not a conflict of mission) but maybe some conflicts of interest between HOLLA! and the school system."
Gatewood said that effective Jan. 31, 2011, he plans to resign from the board. "I will continue to work closely with the board and the organization HOLLA! to help make things better for our kids in the schools," he said.
Gatewood pointed out that the school board has been a very harmonious board and he thinks that has a lot to do with the success it has had. He said he prays things will continue to be that way.
Destiny program approved
During his report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Greg Firn introduced the Destiny program, which has the potential to revolutionize the way the school system keeps track of library books, textbooks and other assets.
With the system, all library books and textbooks would be affixed with barcodes and would be scanned into a computerized system. That system would keep track of what books are where, and how many of them there are.
Destiny could provide the school system "substantial savings," Firn said. "Just as an example, last Friday, we returned $5,000 worth of biology books we didn't need."
The Destiny Resource Management System was unanimously approved later in the meeting, contingent upon available funding.
It will cost $100,000 for five years of service.
Trees at Morven Elementary discussed
The school board also discussed a proposal brought to the N.C. Department of Transportation by Morven Mayor Carolyn Solomon to place 24 October Glory Maple trees at Morven Elementary School.
School board member Russell Sikes expressed some concerns about line of sight for bus drivers and other motorists coming into and out of the school, while Truman said he didn't want the trees to block the view of the school, either. Bennett said she, too, was concerned about blocking the view of the school, where she was the former principal.
Firn suggested that the board could approve the trees, contingent upon their concerns being addressed. That motion passed unanimously.
In other business for the new board at the meeting Monday night, Davis was re-elected chair.
The board also talked about putting more items on its consent agenda, so that votes could be taken more efficiently.
New board member Truman asked for notes on budget amendments and for a report on how students are selected for the ombudsman program, Anson New Tech and Anson Early College. That information will be forwarded to Truman before the next meeting.
Firn reported that the Race to the Top program has been approved by the state, but is still awaiting funding and approval from the U.S. Department of Education.
"Please know that we are not spending money we don't have," he told the board. "There are really strict federal guidelines on how we can use those monies, and we will do the budgeting process in public and on the record."
Firn also reported that Michael Freeman had moved from the position of chief academic officer to chief operating officer, while Howard McLean will become executive director for teaching and learning.
The meeting adjourned at 7:37 p.m.