BOE talks day treatment program

LEDGER – The Mitchell County Board of Education at a special called meeting this past Wednesday approved a decision to continue to work with Morganton-based A Caring Alternative to establish a school day treatment program in the county. 

During the special session, Executive Director of Federal Programs and Exceptional Children Mark Hughes addressed the board and presented a second suitor for the day treatment program – an organization called Clear Sky Behavioral. 

The board voted 3-2 to approve the decision to continue working with A Caring Alternative. Board members Brandon Pitman and Kathy Young dissented, citing concerns with the timeline. 

A Caring Alternative told the board recently the program would require more time before it can be established – the organization is still taking time to hire the right, qualified individuals, a spokesperson said. 

Representatives from A Caring Alternative reiterated they are committed to beating their timeline and are moving as quickly as possible to establish the program. 

Hughes presented the program models for A Caring Alternative and Clear Sky Behavioral. 

The two organizations would utilize similar program models, and the needs for both programs are similar. 

Representatives from Clear Sky Behavioral reviewed A Caring Alternative’s timeline and insisted they could beat it.

 One of the more significant question marks, Hughes said, is Clear Sky Behavioral would be establishing a day treatment program for the first time and building it from the ground up, whereas A Caring Alternative already has two such programs. 

“They do not have an established program we can go and see in action,” Hughes said about Clear Sky Behavioral. “We just want a program that will be successful and my concern with Clear Sky is that it’s a new model.”

Superintendent Chad Calhoun recommended the board stay with A Caring Alternative. 

The approval is pending legal review of the memorandum of agreement by board attorney John Henning. 

Young, who reiterated her displeasure with the timeline from A Caring Alternative, said there should be a monthly report about the program’s progress to ensure its sustainability, regardless of which organization puts the program in place. The board agreed, and that stipulation has been implemented. 

“I’m not in favor of putting something in that will fail,” she said. “It’s a gamble whatever we do. We do have an issue, and it’s a domino effect.”

The MItchell News

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