Editor's note: This article was last updated July 23 at 7:23 p.m.

BEAUFORT — A County Board of Education committee assigned the task of studying whether to close the Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School approved an 800-plus page report Monday that contains information on the school and other data members requested.

The report contains statistics on MaST and other county high schools, including financial and student demographic information, as well as academic performance, classes taken and comments from MaST parents and county school principals on how the school’s closure would effect them and their schools.

Neil Whitford, attorney for the school board, who was assigned the task of compiling the information with assistance from school system staff, said the report is now available to the community on the school system’s website.

“The report is very lengthy because of the exhibits that are attached that contain raw data,” Mr. Whitford said during the committee meeting in the school system’s central office on Safrit Drive.

The report can be seen at carteretcountyschools.org.

A packed room of MaST parents, Carteret Community College President Dr. John Hauser and others concerned about the school’s closure listened as Mr. Whitford reviewed the table of contents on what the report covers.

The next step in the process will come at 6 p.m. Wednesday, when a public hearing will be held on the school’s closure. The full school board will attend that meeting to hear comments.

The committee that has been reviewing information is made up of the board’s curriculum, finance and technology workgroup. Those members are BOE Chairman Travis Day, Brittany Wheatly and John McLean.

Mr. Whitford advised Superintendent Mat Bottoms to have an overflow room available for the large crowd expected to attend the hearing. Mr. Bottoms said he is already making accommodations for the crowd.

Following the public hearing, the full board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, when a final vote is expected on the school’s closure.

Committee members said they received their copies of the report Saturday and were in the process of reviewing information. Mr. Day asked for additional information to be added, including information on just the students enrolled at MaST last year. The report included information on all students who applied.

He also asked for a list of classes MaST Principal DeAnne Rosen taught.

Mr. Day further asked for more information on what factored into the per pupil expenditure figure for MaST, which was $6,736 per student. He was referring to a list of PPEs for the three traditional county high schools, as well as MaST, which show it had a lower PPE than the other three high schools. By school, those expenditures ranged from $7,903 at West Carteret High School to $9,534 for East Carteret.

Mr. Whitford explained the reason MaST had a lower PPE was because the college covers the building costs, as well as utilities and other items. MaST is a partnership between the school system and CCC, which houses the school on its campus.

Per pupil expenditure factors in the average cost incurred by the public school system to educate each child, from the cost of utilities to teacher salaries. Since the college and school system share the cost for MaST, Mr. Whitford said it wasn’t fair to compare the PPE of MaST with the other three high schools.

“You aren’t comparing apples to apples. It’s more like comparing apples to oranges,” Mr. Whitford said, adding that the school system saves money by sharing the cost of the school’s operation with CCC.

However, since the college uses local funds for the operation of MaST, Mr. Whitford said it is still ultimately county taxpayers that foot much of the bill for the school’s operation.

Since Dr. Hauser was at the meeting, Mr. McLean asked if he would review information regarding the effect the school’s closure would have on CCC.

In addition to providing space for the program and paying for utilities, some of the college’s staff teach classes.

The early college high school allows students to obtain college and high school credits simultaneously.

Among many things shared, Dr. Hauser said the 50 students who attended MaST saved $149,505 in college tuition last year. He estimated between 2019-24, students could save $747,523 by attending the school and obtaining college credits while in high school.

In addition, Dr. Hauser said the college and school system receive state funding for MaST students. If the school closes, Dr. Hauser said the college would lose that funding, which in 2018-19 equated to $126,381 in full-time equivalency funds, a formula used to fund state community colleges.

If the school remains open, Dr. Hauser estimated the college would receive $2.36 million in FTE.

He estimates the total economic impact of MaST from state and other funding resources in 2018-19 at $246,776. He said the potential revenue anticipated for MaST between 2019-24 is about $4.86 million.

Mr. McLean said he was “struck by the FTE funding structure.”

Dr. Hauser went on to say the college is continuing to apply for maritime and marine trades and science grants.

“This program feeds into our maritime trades and aquaculture. It’s the only early college high school that has a program feeding into a maritime course of study,” he said.

Ms. Wheatly asked about vocational trades.

Dr. Hauser said by the end of the fall semester, students who pursue the vocational track will obtain professional certifications in marine propulsion.

“They’re ready to go to work right out of high school,” he said.

Dr. Hauser also did a quick review of student demographics of MaST students.

For the Class of 2022, eight students came from the Croatan High School district, 16 came from the ECHS district and 21 came from the WCHS district. For the Class of 2023 that would start this year, 13 are from the CHS area, 17 are from the ECHS area and 19 are from the WCHS district.

Following the meeting, MaST parent Lindsay Webb of Emerald Isle said, “We didn’t come today with any expectations. I think it’s a pretty cut and dry document. It’s just a long document to review.”

One parent expressed concern about the comment section containing information that could identify a student. Mr. Whitford said the system redacted any identifiable information from that section, but any parents with concerns could contact school system Communications Director Tabbie Nance at tabbie.nance@carteretk12.org with their concerns and it would be corrected if deemed necessary.

In the meantime, supporters of MaST are circulating a petition for people to sign in support or against keeping the school open. It can be found at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf2ndiD2Yf0TjNLqNxY_gbymAWv6uuAjMQy5mhFbtFnmZbOUg/viewform.

Ms. Webb said as of Tuesday, 1,614 people had completed the petition, with about 1,580 in support of keeping the school open.

The issue of closing the school, which last year opened on the campus of CCC, has been controversial. Despite pleas from upset MaST parents, students and supporters during the public comment time of the June 11 school board meeting, the board voted June 20 in a split vote of 4-3 to not use local funds to keep the school open.

Instead, some board members said they wanted to use those funds to save seven teacher positions that may be lost due to federal and state funding cuts. The lack of funding for MaST would result in the school’s closure.

The school board’s action was based on a recommendation by county commissioners during their June 17 meeting that the school board use $245,958 in county funds earmarked for MaST for the 2019-20 year to save the positions. The county allocated $186,000 for MaST the previous year.

Commissioners and school board members cited concerns over whether the General Assembly would provide state funds for MaST. The current version of the state budget provides $180,000 for the next five years for early college high schools. However, Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed the budget over concerns about lack of increased funding for Medicaid and other issues. While the budget debate continues, the state will operate under the current budget, which did not include funding for MaST.

The 100 students who were slated to start at MaST Wednesday, Aug. 7 wait for word on the next step.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

(previous report)

BEAUFORT — A County Board of Education committee assigned the task of studying whether to close the Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School approved an 800-plus page report Monday that contains information on the school and other data that members requested.

The report contains statistics on MaST and other county high schools, including financial and student demographic information, as well as academic performance, classes taken and comments from MaST parents and county school principals on how the school’s closure would effect them or their schools.

Neil Whitford, attorney for the County Board of Education, who was assigned the task of compiling the information with assistance from school system staff, said the report is now available to the community on the school system’s website.

“The report is very lengthy because of the exhibits that are attached that contain raw data,” Mr. Whitford said during the committee meeting in the school system’s central office on Safrit Drive.

The report can be seen at www.carteretcountyschools.org

A packed room of MaST parents, CCC President Dr. John Hauser and others concerned about the school’s closure listened as Mr. Whitford reviewed the table of contents on what the report covers.

The next step in the process will come at 6 p.m. Wednesday when a public hearing will be held on the school’s closure. The full school board will attend that meeting to hear comments.

The committee that has been reviewing information is made up of the board’s curriculum, finance and technology workgroup. Those members are Chairman Travis Day, Brittany Wheatly and John McLean.

Mr. Whitford advised Superintendent Mat Bottoms to have an overflow room available for the large crowd expected to attend the hearing. Mr. Bottoms said he is already making accommodations for the crowds.

Following the public hearing, the full board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, when a final vote is expected on the school’s closure.

Committee members said they received their copies of the report Saturday and were in the process of reviewing information. Mr. Day asked for additional information to be added, including information on just the students enrolled last year. The report included information on all students who applied.

He also asked for a list of classes MaST Principal DeAnne Rosen taught.

Since Dr. Hauser was at the meeting, Mr. McLean asked if he would review information regarding the impact the school’s closure would have on CCC.

MaST is a partnership between CCC and the county school system. The college provides space for the program, pays for utilities and some of the college staff teach classes.

The early college high school allows students to obtain college and high school credits simultaneously.

Among many things shared, Dr. Hauser said the 50 students who attended MaST saved $149,505 dollars in college tuition last year. He estimated between 2019-2024 students could save $747,523 by attending the school and obtaining college credits while in high school.

Following the meeting, MaST parent Lindsay Webb of Emerald Isle said, “We didn’t come today with any expectations. I think it’s a pretty cut and dry document. It’s just a long document to review.”

In the meantime, supporters of MaST have begun circulating a petition for people to sign in support of keeping the school open. It can be found at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf2ndiD2Yf0TjNLqNxY_gbymAWv6uuAjMQy5mhFbtFnmZbOUg/viewform.

The issue of closing the school, which last year opened on the campus of CCC, has been controversial. Despite pleas from upset MaST parents, students and supporters during the public comment time of the June 11 school board meeting, the board voted June 20 in a split vote of 4-3 to not use local funds to keep the school open.

Instead, some board members said they wanted to use those funds to save seven teacher positions that may be lost due to federal and state funding cuts. The lack of funding for MaST would result in the school’s closure.

The school board’s action was based on a recommendation by county commissioners during their June 17 meeting that the school board use $245,958 in county funds earmarked for MaST for the 2019-20 year to save the positions. The county had allocated $186,000 for MaST the previous year.

Commissioners and school board members cited concerns over whether the General Assembly would provide state funds for MaST. The current version of the state budget provides $180,000 for the next five years for early college high schools. However, Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed the budget over concerns about lack of increased funding for Medicaid and other issues. While the budget debate continues, the state will operate under the current budget, which did not include funding for MaST.

The 100 students who were slated to start at MaST Wednesday, Aug. 7 wait for word on the next step. 

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

Tags

(7) comments

CrystalcoastcultureNC

Dont forget to share that MaST provides vocational classes too. So sad that was left out. Stats based on which students took college classes vs students took vocational instruction at MaST for a 1 year time period is unrealistic. Any statistician/financier knows you shouldn't base info on just one year. Kids could have saved the vocational training for their 2nd or third year and opted to only take required core classes which i believe are also taught by college professors...hence your stats for $$ towards college courses. This makes the public believe that their tax money is being spent to advance college credit. Not at all what is happening. Shameful attempt to sway perception of this program. Also misquote...it is FOUR teaching positions...the SAME 4 teachers that they are moving to the traditional high schools. Another Fun fact: 68% of the MaST kids qualified for reduced/free lunch*** Additionally, what about the foresight for the new I40? Carteret County expects a massive population increase and we will begin seeing effects in a short 5 years. MaST according to your survey is costing LES than traditional high schools. Our county is going to NEED another high school to alleviate crowd at WCHS and Croatan. ECHS will increase nicely as well w the all the new developments in the works. BOE keeps talking about money not being there but to me; according to your survey.. it looks like it is. Nor are they listening to the qualified, educated professional members regarding community needs. Nope they are going to close MaST and waste the schools startup of 245,000 (that my friend is where ur tax dollars r being wasted) only to realize in three years time they need to start another school OR redistricting WCHS to ECHS anyway. Smh.

beachmami13

What I find interesting is that if we are going to have all this growth from I 40, where are all the well paying jobs coming from for those people? I would bet there will just be more of the low wage tourism related jobs, which also adds onto the number of kids that will need services and free lunch. It is so ironic that the county pushed to make this area a tourism center and now we will need so many additional services - both for the low wage earning workers who help take care of the tourists and for the additional amount of people who will live here. It will be a huge cluster(mess) and only the ones at the top who benefited will be happy. All of our taxes will be raised and the low end workers will be pushed out further and further to find affordable housing. There will be a huge need for things like reduced/free lunch, subsidized childcare, affordable housing units, assistance with rent and food, additional police, additional social workers, additional lifeguard and additional people to clean up the trash left behind. The people who naively think this will be a benefit for the county haven't thought things thru. WIth all of the fishermen continuing to be pushed out of the fishing industry by the limits being imposed, they too will need additional services. So ironic that those of us who live here and love this area aren't being listened to or respected over any of the issues involving growth and/or how taxes are spent in this county.

CrystalcoastcultureNC

Beachmami13 .That is why it is so important to keep MaST OPEN!! When we have MORE population trained in certain areas such as aquaculture, welders, horticulture etc....our county is the second largest estuaries in the US. ...it will bring even more business and industry ...jobs come along with it. There is an entire study completed on this topic at the carteret county economic development site. All opinion leaders point to creating a base to become more stable and through education and our kids is a fabulous way to do it!!!

DeadBolt

I'd like to point out, there is no such thing as a 'FREE LUNCH'. Also , these learned scholars are not going to school to eat, thats more of a home thing, IMO.

dc

CCC has space for 200 additional students?

DeadBolt

There is virtually nothing you or future folks can do except possibly study the marsh areas, because its been regulated out of this state. Sorry to bust your bubble on this topic. All these so called prospects just are never going to materialize from thin air are they? No, their going to use this so called education to move to areas where they can actually utilize their skills, and just because i know there are wizards out there with all the answers, here is a lesson for you in Carteret County Help Wanted. (from this very paper). [ http://www.nccoastonline.com/100.html ] There is 1 water related job available and it the esteemed PLUMBER'S HELPER! (good luck finding any seafood there! )

dc

It's about expansion of the education industry.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.