Morehead City, N.C.
July 18, 2019
TO THE EDITOR:
I could not in good conscience allow Mr. Day’s letter in the Sunday, July 14, edition to go unchallenged. It contains several misrepresentations that an educational leader in our fine county should not be sharing.
First, to say that the Board of Education did not vote to close MaST is a deliberate play on words. If you watch the YouTube video of the BOE dated June 20, Mr. Day himself specifically says at least twice that their vote would result in the closure of Mast. And yet his letter to the editor dated July 13 says they did not vote to close MaST. This is an absurd play on words along the lines of President Clinton saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” or President Obama’s “If you like your health care plan you can keep it.”
Another typical politician trying to cover his tracks. I encourage anyone interested to watch the BOE meeting from June 20 to get a clearer picture of the agenda here. It is quite clear from Mr. Day’s actions that he is leading the charge to close MaST. He rarely allowed any of the other board members the opportunity to speak, and frequently spoke over them. This is not how a “chairman” is supposed to act.
Secondly, Mr. Day states that he has never communicated with any state representatives in several years. This is a problem! How can the leader of our Board of Education not be in contact with and lobbying state legislators on the behalf of our school system? We asked the Board of Education to contact the state legislators to lobby for MaST funding during the public comment period at their meeting on June 11. Clearly this fell on deaf ears. This is not acceptable for someone who is supposed to advocate for our local Board of Education, especially the “chairman.” It is also indicative of his personal agenda to close the school, rather than to actually try to persuade our state representatives to fund it. Remember, the original vote to open the school was 5-1 with Mr. Day being the only one opposed.
Mr. Day then goes on to point out that he is trying to look out for all of the kids in the school system, and he does not think it fair to provide the benefits of MaST for a small number of kids who were “lucky lottery winners.” This is a blatant misrepresentation of how kids were accepted into MaST. As Principal Mrs. Rosen has repeatedly pointed out, kids were selected based on several factors including family educational background, and the kids’ previous academic records. It was not a lottery! And it has led to a very diverse student body with kids from numerous backgrounds that have really gotten along well. This is good for our county!
Based on his argument, how does Mr. Day defend singling kids out for the AIG programs, for the arts and athletic programs that require kids to try out, and for the Tiller Charter School? All those programs benefit the “few” and I am sure there are kids who don’t make the cut that would like to be included. MaST is simply another school alternative that every eighth grader in the county has the opportunity to apply for.
Statewide, early college high schools have been common practice for several years and often are among the top performing public high schools in the state (www.ncpublicschools.org/src/)
In southeastern North Carolina, Jones and Pamlico counties are the only counties who do not have one. The Wilmington area has five; Craven County has two. We are paying our state taxes into the statewide educational system and supporting over 133 of these type high schools elsewhere and they are performing exceptionally well. Why doesn’t Mr. Day and our local Board of Education fight for us to get those dollars back to Carteret County in the form of MaST? But, as he stated in his letter, he has not felt the need to contact any state legislators in many years.
Lastly, the funding for MaST is now in the state budget of both houses as soon as the legislature and the governor can agree over Medicaid funding. If the budget passes, Mr. Day and company will have vacated our opportunity to receive thousands of dollars in funding from the state. When you add this to the expenditures that Carteret Community College spent on the MaST facility, Mr. Day and company are walking away from a tremendous amount of state funding that was showing exceptional progress for our county students.
Mr. Day, Mr. Jenkins, Mrs. Chadwick and Mrs. Wheatly — your votes to close MaST will be on your public records as well as your efforts that are having a very disruptive affect on the kids of MaST. With over 100 families affected by your short-sighted decisions, I predict that there will be consequences for you all to pay in the next election cycle.
You have one last opportunity to make this right with the upcoming vote on the future of MaST. I respectfully ask that you reconsider your vote and do what is right for our county educational system. Give the MaST students and the MaST school a chance to make a positive impact on Carteret County!