The Newport Special School District held a special meeting on Tuesday, August 21st before the regular monthly meeting. The special meeting was the Annual Report to the Public presented by the Superintendent Dr. Larry Bennett. The meeting began at 6 pm with a Call to Order by President Dennis Haigwood, followed by prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
A power point presentation was given by Dr. Bennett over all aspects of Newport School District. Over 50 slides were shown covering everything from enrollment data to school improvements.
Enrollment Data was first which includes 1063 students for the 2018-19 school year as compared to 1284 students in 2013. Current enrollment consists of 48.85 % female and 51.15% male students. The student population includes 49 percent-white, 39 percent-black and 8 percent-Hispanic. 79.6 percent of district students are economically disadvantaged.
The State Department allows a loss of only 3 percent of students each year. Newport meets that maximum each year.
Newport School District receives $ 6,781.00 funding per student this year. $ 3,351.16 comes from local revenue and the other $ 3,429.84 comes from state funding. Other federal funding includes Title I - $ 912,612.06, Title II - $ 81,983.21,
Title VI- $ 21,370.93, and Title IV - $ 64,288.89. $ 192,207 is also received from State Categorical Funds for declining enrollment.
School debt is $ 12,985,000.00. District facility renovation projects totaled in the amount of $ 13,541,365.89. Some of these renovations include the auditorium. Fieldhouse, football stadium, WiFi network, sidewalks, and Technical Science building renovations. One anticipated renovation is the destruction of the Jr. High School, but the presence of asbestos makes the venture more expensive than anticipated.
Newport Schools are leaders in technology. Students are issued iPads, MacBooks, can take virtual classes and have access to an advanced fiber network.
Food service was responsible for serving 127,972 breakfasts and 200,376 lunches last school year.
In the area of transportation. Newport maintains 12 regular bus routes and two special needs bus routes. The 10 newest buses in the fleet were purchased in
2014. Buses are now equipped with cameras added in 2017.
Noteworthy curriculum includes the ACT Aspire given to students in grades 3-10. The testing is computer based. All 11th graders take the ACT on campus.
The school has developed a career pathway program through a four year plan including college prep classes, career and technical programs. College Concurrent credit is available for students in certain subjects. Students are able to pursue career and technical education, complete industry certifications, choose a course of student between a traditional classroom setting or the School of Innovation (currently has 70 students).
Of the total 2018 graduates, 52 percent are enrolled in post-secondary education or trade school, 12 percent are working in retail or foods, 14 percent are working in industry or manufacturing, 6 percent are in the military, 5 percent are working in farming and 11 percent are unaccounted for.
Dr. Bennett addressed the safety of the school and the numerous things done to protect the students in case of emergencies.
Newport School District employs 116 licensed employees and 59 classified employees. All custodial and food service is outsourced. The beginning teacher salary is $ 32,500.00 ( $ 911.34 each pay period). 50 percent of parents agreed to the use of corporal punishment. Laws were passes that students in grades kindergarten through 5th grade cannot be suspended.
The last presented area was the list of school board members. These include Dennis Haigwood, Loftin Kent, Eddie Cooley, Bryson Elston, Leroy Mansko and Kathy Green. All members are required to complete six hours of training each year.
The special meeting adjourned around 8:30 pm. After a 5 minute break, the board reconvened for the regular monthly school board meeting.