County approves $358K for NHCS in wake of scandal involving teacher
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — On Monday, New Hanover County commissioners unanimously approved giving the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars in the wake of the latest school scandal involving a teacher.
“We will do whatever it takes to make sure that those most vulnerable among us… 3 and 4-year-olds… all the way up to 18 year olds in our high schools… ,” Commissioner Rob Zapple said. “These are the people in our community we have to support.”
The money would pay for two Title XI investigators, an assistant for the investigators, a professional standards investigator for four months and training for mental health. Board Chair Lisa Estep says student services is working on a job description, so the job can be posted soon.
“As reports come in, as complaints come in through our Ethics 360 online platform or through the ‘Say Something’ app or through any avenue… those complaints and reports can be followed up and investigated promptly,” Estep said.
The money also includes former superintendent Tim Markley‘s severance package.
In all, commissioners approved the schools request of $358,000.
“Everyone’s future is in our children,” Zapple said. “If we don’t provide them with a safe learning environment where they can feel free to be the best that they can possibly be, we have lost hope as a community.”
Estep says, while the board waits to fill the new positions, the county has sent over a forensic social worker to help the Title IX Director and HR Department.
“We have had ongoing conversations for the past few weeks,” Estep said. “We have been working with the Sheriff’s office very closely . We’ve been working with the county very closely and this is a result of those conversations.”
In January, when Peter Frank, a now former Roland Grise Middle School band teacher, was charged with 12 counts of felony sex crimes against students, the county offered to support.
“I think our Chair Julia Boseman said it best …that whatever the school board needs certainly in the need of finances … we stand in the way ready to receive that and provide whatever help we can,” Zapple said.
Frank was the third New Hanover County Schools employee charged with sex crimes against students in less than two years.
Interviews for a new interim superintendent for NHCS starts Tuesday.