Carteret school board to discuss mask policy, final budget at Wednesday meeting

The Carteret County Board of Education will discuss its decision to make masks optional during its meeting Wednesday in the school system’s central office in Beaufort. (Cheryl Burke photo)

BEAUFORT — Carteret County Board of Education members will discuss Friday’s decision to make face coverings optional in public school buildings, a change which was instituted Monday.

The board will discuss the matter during its meeting, set for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the school system’s central office on Safrit Drive in Beaufort. The meeting will be broadcast live on the district’s YouTube channel. Public comment will be received at the beginning of the meeting.

The BOE, Sept. 23, voted to make masks optional once the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate fell below 5% on a consistent basis. The county’s positivity rate dropped to 4.6% Friday, and at 5:15 p.m. the same day, officials announced face coverings in school system facilities would be optional beginning Monday.

Masks are optional for all students, staff and visitors based on the county’s positivity rate. Wearing face coverings on school buses is still required on buses per U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

In an email response about the decision late Friday, Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson said, “The County Positivity Rate is monitored daily. This week, the daily rate has hovered near 5% prior to dropping to 4.6% today. Additionally, the school-affected weekly case count dropped to its lowest point this week as well.”

The school district reported 16 positive COVID-19 cases for the week as of Friday. One case was an employee, and 15 were students.

Wednesday, the board is also set to approve a $104.5 million final budget resolution for 2021-22 that is about 12% more than the $93.5 million approved for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

Much of the increase is due to federal and state funds given to school districts to address instructional, health and safety needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those funds have been spent on hiring additional nurses and technology and instructional support services.

The board will also consider a pay bonus for teachers. The agenda did not provide how much the bonus would be.

Other items scheduled during the meeting include:

  • Consider federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Stabilization, or ESSERS, budget amendment to hire an ESSERS budget manager. Chief finance officer Kathy Carswell is requesting the position, at an estimated cost of $150,000, for two and half years “due to the complexity of federal budgets and additional restrictions,” according to the proposal.
  • Consider approval of 2020-21 audit report.
  • Receive update on the Carteret County Public School Foundation.
  • Receive update on student academic performance on state assessments during 2020-21.
  • Consider several policy revisions for second reading.
  • Receive an update from recent parent advisory council meeting in the Croatan High School district.
  • Receive an update on school bond and capital projects.
  • Meet in closed session for a matter of attorney-client privilege.
  • Recognize Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative for its contributions to county school system.
  • Recognize students for Future Business Leaders of America national competition top honors.
  • Recognize the N.C. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development Whole Child Award winner.
  • Recognize the Heart Association retiree award.
  • Recognize the county school system’s finance department for winning national awards.

Under the consent agenda, the board will:

  • Consider personnel matters.
  • Consider fundraiser requests.
  • Consider student transfers.
  • Consider appointments to the foundation’s board of directors.
  • Consider the budget planning calendar for 2022-23.
  • Consider an academic school calendar revision.


Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

(1) comment


The FBI has been told to stay out of Surry County schools by the Surry County Commissioners. A Resolution approved unanimously by the board — citing a need for parents to be able to openly make their thoughts and concerns known to school boards, and called on the three school systems in the county to voice their displeasure to federal authorities.

Welcome to the discussion.

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