Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Winston-Salem Journal (NC)
Copyright: 2008 Piedmont Publishing Co. Inc.
Note: The Journal does not publish LTEs from writers outside its 
circulation area
Author: Lisa Boone-Wood
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


School Board Makes Change To Save Money

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board decided last night to 
reduce the number of random drug tests for students involved in 
extracurricular activities.

The board voted to lower the percentage of students tested from 33 
percent to 20 percent to lower the costs of the drug-testing program. 
A federal drug-testing grant awarded to the school system will run 
out this fall. That means that the system will have to spend about 
$30,000 to cover the costs of testing even 20 percent of students 
involved in extra-curricular activities, school officials said.

The school board reduced the percentage of random student testing as 
part of its extension of the school system's contract with the 
Partnership for a Drug-Free N.C. Inc. for the It's My Call and It's 
Our Call drug programs. Kathy Jordan, the program coordinator for 
Safe and Drug Free Schools, told the school board last night that 
drug-testing research shows that random testing of 20 percent of 
students involved in extracurricular activities will be effective in 
deterring drug use.

Jordan also said that random testing is just one of several methods 
the system uses to hinder drug use.

"It's one part of a fairly comprehensive pie," she said. School-board 
member Jeannie Metcalf opposed the reduction. "Too many kids are 
using too many drugs," Metcalf said. "I want them to be caught. I 
want them to get help."

Other board members suggested reviewing the school system's 
comprehensive drug-use plan, instead of focusing on the 
random-testing. Superintendent Don Martin said that school officials 
have tested 10 percent, 20 percent and 33 percent of students in the 
past as part of the system's drug program.

Martin also said that system statistics show that 4 percent of 
students randomly tested have used drugs.

In other business, the school board decided to request that Forsyth 
County use $6.6 million from N.C. Lottery proceeds to pay down debt 
from the 2006 bond referendum.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom