The state has taken control of major operations of the Halifax County Schools, citing concern for students in the district.
The State Board of Education notified the Halifax County school board in a letter Monday that it would immediately take a direct role in the district’s budget, employment decisions and student course assignments.
“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,” State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey said in a news release. His letter directed Halifax officials to hand over the school system’s budget and employment actions to the state. Middle and high school students will be enrolled in the state’s virtual school if there is not a licensed teacher in a course required for high school graduation.
A 2009 court order led the state to send N.C. Department of Public Instruction staff to Halifax to coach teachers and principals in an effort to improve chronically poor academic performance.
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The letter said the Halifax County district had received repeated warnings and recommendations that have not been followed.
“With the start of the 2015-16 school year a few days away, it is clear that the [Halifax County School] Board and leadership are unable or unwilling to make sound financial decisions in order to sustain a financially viable school district,” the letter said. “To our dismay, irresponsible decisions by the HCS Board signal a failure to cooperate with the recommendations by the [State Board of Education’s] designees.”