Bus drivers get a raise, meetings for Seaforth zoning on tap, construction updates

Posted 1/24/20

PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Board of Education’s annual mid-year retreat serves as a mid-year opportunity for the school board to tackle big topics and take care of some housekeeping …

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Bus drivers get a raise, meetings for Seaforth zoning on tap, construction updates

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PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Board of Education’s annual mid-year retreat serves as a mid-year opportunity for the school board to tackle big topics and take care of some housekeeping items.

Among the several items on the docket last week were a few which warranted some extra attention.

A raise for bus drivers

The school board approved a 74-cent-per-hour increase in pay for all of the district’s bus drivers. The additional $55,000 needed to cover the raise will come from state transportation funds, and will increase the pay range from $13.26 to $21.76 per hour to $14 to $22.50 per hour.

District CFO Tony Messer said Chatham County Schools approved a raise higher than the state-mandated increase in 2017, but surrounding districts are improving their salaries. The board approved the raise with little discussion, with board chairman Gary Leonard saying that “trying to stay competitive is wonderful.”

Meetings for Seaforth HS zoning upcoming

The school district, in conjunction with the N.C. State’s Operations Research and Education Laboratory (OREd), will hold four meetings in the coming weeks to inform parents and community members about potential new attendance zones for Seaforth High School.

Northwood High School, Margaret B. Pollard Middle School, Horton Middle School and Moncure School will host the input sessions, during which district staff and OREd representatives will share possible plans and answer any questions about new zones. A survey will also be administered, from which possible additional scenarios will be crafted and presented to the school board.

According to a project timeline shown to the board last week, the board will make its decision on zones by July.

Chatham Grove nearing completion, Seaforth more than half done

CCS Director of Maintenance and Construction Randy Drumheller provided an update on the district’s major construction projects.

Chatham Grove Elementary School, slated to open later this year for the 2020-2021 school year, is 88 percent complete, Drumheller said, with construction scheduled to be finished on March 5. He added that the project is “well within the contingency, well within our budget.” The $27 million project on Andrews Store Road will help serve elementary students from the growing northeastern part of Chatham County.

Construction on Seaforth, scheduled to start operations in August 2021, is 59 percent complete, and the projected finish date is April 6, 2021. Located at 444 Seaforth Road near Jordan Lake, the $62 million school will start as freshmen and sophomores only in its first year and add 11th and 12th grades in the ensuing years.

Additionally, the board approved a $486,162 change order for Seaforth related to a new traffic light at the intersection of Seaforth Road and U.S. Hwy. 64. The full project, which will place a stoplight where there is currently a U-turn option, will be reimbursed by the N.C. Dept. of Transportation.

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