Board delays action on health-clinic plan

Published 7:21 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Staff Writer

Saying school leaders need more time to involve the community in the discussion of a school-based health clinic, Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps said the local public school system will wait a year to apply for a grant to build a clinic at one of the county’s schools.
“There are a lot of concerns that I have in terms of the details that need to be worked out,” Phipps told the Beaufort County Board of Education on Monday. “We want to be collaborative partners on this, but we need the liberty of time to involve the community in our discussions.”
During a brief school-board meeting, Phipps said he would like to appoint a task force to study the best option for the clinic and be prepared to apply next year for a $500,000 Affordable Care Act Grant for School-Based Health Centers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.
A school-board committee charged with overseeing the school system’s buildings, grounds and finances recently heard a report on the grant from Lynn Bolden, chief operating officer of the Agape Clinic and the Rev. David L. Moore, chief operating officer of Metropolitan Housing and CDC Inc.
The clinic, if built, would provide “routine health care” for students, including dental care, care for chronic health conditions and disease prevention services for students where the clinic is located, Bolden told the committee.
The deadline for the grant application is Dec. 1, with follow-up applications due in January.
After hearing about the proposal, school leaders said they hoped to move forward with the project, but they questioned whether the December deadline would give them enough time to determine where such a clinic should be sited to provide care for the greatest number of students who would need its services.
“We need to take time to study this and be ready when this grant rolls around again,” Phipps said.
In other business, the board:
• Unanimously approved a proposal from the Washington Noon Rotary Club to sponsor a Rotary Against Drugs speech contest for ninth through 12th grade students. One student will be chosen to represent each school and present his or her speech Feb. 14 to the Washington Noon Rotary. The club will choose one student to represent Beaufort County on March 20 in district competition in Chapel Hill.
• Unanimously approved a request from Pine Needles Garden Club to proceed with a project to plant trees on the grounds at John Small Elementary and P.S. Jones Middle schools. The club plans to raise money to buy about 50 trees to plant on the school grounds and recognize contributors with a plaque at the schools.
• Unanimously approved a March 17, 2011, field trip for a Northside High School cheerleading squad to participate in a national competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
• Heard a discussion of, but took no action on, a proposal for a biotechnology and agricultural science early college high school to be located at the Vernon James Agricultural Research Center near Plymouth. The school, if developed, would serve as the “anchor” school for a statewide cluster of similarly themed schools. Students from across the region will be invited to enroll, but the actual attendance pattern will be determined by their proximity to the center, according to information presented to the board. Phipps told the board that because of the distance, some Beaufort County students would have to travel to attend the school, which would primarily serve as a source for staff development for local teachers.
All school board members attended the meeting.
Graduation dates
The Beaufort County Board of Education on Monday approved graduation dates for the 2010-2011 school year. Responding to requests from the community, no graduation exercises have been scheduled for Wednesday, according to Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps. The graduation schedule is as follows:
• Beaufort County Ed. Tech. Center — 10 a.m., June 11, 2011
• Washington High School — 7:30 p.m., June 13, 2011
• Southside High School — 7 p.m., June 14, 2011
• Northside High School — 7 p.m., June 16, 2011