Schools to stick with urine drug test

School board debates how to fix tennis courts

By Nicholas Elmes -

Stokes County Schools will not be transitioning to a saliva based drug test for students following a consensus decision by the School Board on Monday.

The school system had been looking into the saliva tests in hopes of getting immediate results, but Assistant Superintendent Tony George told board members that the test would not be as effective in identifying marijuana use.

“It would only be good for 48 hours, so if you used marijuana, after 48 hours this would not find it in your system,” he said, noting that the tests would also cost $15,95 per test.

He said a recent meeting with principals had reinvigorated efforts to combat drug use among students.

“They are really working on dealing with it right now,” he said, noting that they were working closely with Insight Human services. “They are looking maybe doing some intervention after school.”

Board Chair Sonya Cox suggested setting up a roundtable discussion later in the year to address the issue.

“We could brainstorm some ideas of what we could past DARE into the middle and high schools, trying to educate not just the students but also our staff and parents,” she said. “Another tool that has not always been used is reasonable suspicion. We are going to be talking to the principals about that. Policy allows for testing if there is a reasonable suspicion. I think an honest, open conversation between us and law enforcement and parents would be good.”

School tennis courts could be big ticket item

Director of Operations David Burge told the board that the school system could soon be looking at high prices to repair tennis courts at county middle and high schools.

The report came at the request of Board Member Bill Hart who had suggest setting up a routine maintenance program for the courts across the county.

“We had tried to set up a six year rotation for resurfacing them, but because of lack of funding from the county commissioners we have not been able to do it in a couple of years,” he said. “Some of the courts are pretty much at the point where the surfaces are not any good and will need to be torn up and put back new. I don’t know where we are going to get the funding to replace them.”

Burge said the North Stokes courts were in the worst shape with some cracks growing to over an inch wide. He estimated that it could cost $150,000 per school to replace courts and fencing.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Stewart Hobbs asked if the system had considered transitioning to a turf based court system, noting that asphalt courts had a tendency to crack.

“It is a statewide issue,” he said. “When they put these courts in, they put down a base and as the ground settles you start getting splits. In Rowan County they spent quite a bit of money redoing them and then got the same problems a year later. The only way to fix this is to let them go in and tear it all up and put in a much larger base.”

Hart said he had initially wanted to set up a program where school staff could be responsible for using materials purchased by the school board to patch cracks on the courts each year.

“Now it has gotten to this,” he said. “We are in a predicament now because we have no money.”

Burge said he would find out what materials schools needed and ask them to start patching.

“Some of them will take more than resurfacing,” he warned, “some of them will take rebuilding.”

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

School board debates how to fix tennis courts

By Nicholas Elmes

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