WILMINGTON — Wilmington High School Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart — who will become the superintendent of Wilmington City Schools at the completion of this school year — and Wilmington City Schools Treasurer Kim Deweese spoke to the Wilmington Rotary Club which meets at noon on Mondays
McCarty-Stewart stated that Wilmington City Schools has faced several challenges and barriers in the past several years, including a lack of available resources.
She provided Rotary with highlights from schools including:
• Holmes Elementary, in support of the focus on academic literacy, has a friendship book club.
• Denver Place has worked with students for improvements to the playground area
• East End has a very active student council and many of its kindergarten students are ahead of the curve on skills/tasks for this time in the year.
• The middle school has an active art student community and students are excelling with that. The lacrosse team is doing well, as is the Students Taking Ownership of Learning program.
• At the high school, each student receives a Chrome Book for their school work; this created an opportunity for students to become members of the Cane Tech Squad. With some summer training and ongoing training throughout the year, these students help fix, sort out, and support the equipment available to the students and staff.
Peers helping Peers is another “internship” program supported by the schools to help students get involved in supporting other students at the school.
Also, there are five Advanced Placement courses offered at the high school, and students taking those classes can get honors credit for excelling in those classes.
Kim Deweese stated that it is a best practice to keep a carryover amount that will support expenses for a specific time frame, and that if the levy is not renewed, the ability to do that is significantly compromised.
Wilmington City Schools has operated on the same percentage since 2002. Compared to state averages, Wilmington City Schools collects about $2,000 less per student on property tax, spends about $500 less per student on administrative costs compared to statewide average and has a higher student-to-staff ratio. Statewide average is 152 students per administrator compared to Wilmington City Schools that has 187 students per administrator.
Deweese stated that revenue for the schools comes from several sources including real Estate taxes (31 percent), income taxes (15 percent), the state (40 percent), and grants (9 percent) as well as a few other sources.
Wilmington City Schools’ five-year forecast shows improving revenues as the years progress. However, with the state taking away the property tax in the next few years, it is vital to pass the income tax renewal.
Also at Wilmington Rotary, the club honored Wilmington High School senior Lindsey Murphy and East Clinton High School senior Devin Hinson as Students of the Month.
Each spoke about their accomplishments and their plans after graduation.