Morehead City, N.C.
June 28, 2019
TO THE EDITOR:
It was both deeply disturbing and disappointing to watch the County Board of Education meeting that resulted in the closure of MaST. It was disturbing to hear parents’ attempts at cannibalizing Bridges or Atlantic Elementary School to look at funding sources. Both of these institutions provide an invaluable benefit to the populations they serve.
Equally disturbing were Facebook comments from citizens Down East calling the parents of MaST names and intimating threats if they were east of Beaufort.
I understand both reactions, but they were grounded in emotions and cooler heads always prevail during emotional times. Now the school system faces a legal threat due to the fact that those who voted in the majority violated G.S. 115C-72 [link http://bit.ly/NCschool].
The result will likely be Board of Education members, school administrators and county commissioners and their communications being pulled into the lawsuit. This will likely subtract from any cost savings or attempts at fiscal conservatism as the risk and its associated costs that we as a county are exposed to is currently unknown. Furthermore, additional violations of G.S. 160A-83 and G.S. 115C-47(57) which are listed in the School Boards on Policy 2120 Code of ethics for school board members [http://bit.ly/CCPSEthics], specifically Sections A1, 2 and 5.
Further violations of this policy occurred under B2, but most importantly B3, when Chairman Day continued to allude that the county commissioners wanted them to do something specific with the funds. That specific instruction qualifies that those that voted in the affirmative neglected their duty to “refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals or special interest groups.”
Since the inception of the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners, there has always been a difference of opinion on how to allocate funding. If the goal is to abide by the county commissioners’ direction on funding, then why do we have a Board of Education? The argument that it’s the law isn’t valid, as indicated above, as there has already been a disregard for the rule of law.
The fact that the most recent Board of Education meeting lacked a rescission of the previous motion that violated the law, and another motion that reinstates the program with a two-week window to study the school closure, still puts them in violation of the law. Discussions around lack of funding only indicate that lack of awareness regarding the state funding as the N.C. House released their budget [http://bit.ly/NCbudget19] with Page 50 specifically allocating this funding. Additionally, the House chair of Education Appropriations, who is a Republican, indicated that the decision [http://bit.ly/NCEduHorn] was premature and questioned what leadership that they talked to at the N.C. House.
The fact that ample considerations wasn’t given to reduction in force, to those teachers with performance issues or poor performers, which leading education economist Eric Hanushek states could cost a student lifetime earning potential to “have a negative impact of $400,000” weren’t considered, is telling.
This was one of the primary reasons, I supported eliminating teacher tenure, during my time on the school board. Ask the teachers themselves, have you ever been up one grade level from an ineffective teacher? How hard did you have to work to gain growth score or establish proficiency for your student? Additionally, were the calculations done to establish eROI, specifically the educational return on investment of this program? This isn’t something that your finance team will provide?
This is something the Board of Education, as business leaders should have calculated and considered. Furthermore, the N.C. GOP 2019 Platform [http://bit.ly/2019NCGOP] Article VII indicates the support of “the expansion of vocational curricula and school choice in North Carolina.” The majority of the board’s decision in the affirmative, while complying with Policy 2120 Section B. 11 to not use their position for partisan gain, is in direct contradiction of the N.C. GOP Platform. Didn’t we support a partisan school board to advance these types of opportunities that align with the values and needs of our community?
Mrs. Wheatly, Mrs. Chadwick and Mr. Jenkins, you unilaterally backed Chairman Day in his bid for board chair while overlooking other more tenured and respected board members for leadership on the board. The leader you supported has put you and many others at risk of unnecessary litigation and is causing damage to the brand that is Carteret County Public Schools.
You are all business owners. If your business partner broke the law, implicated you by continually stating “we” and exposed you to litigation and unnecessary risk, would you still keep that partner in your business? Would that individual continue to have a leadership role in your business?
Management is doing things right and leadership is doing the right thing. Chairman Day mismanaged the situation when he read a pre-written motion to end the MaST program. It is up to your leadership to suspend the rules and declare the chair vacant (or similar parliamentary procedures) and elect a new chairman who does not have an agenda.
I understand our Down East schools are losing attendance, that ECHS is losing funding due to dwindling attendance. Expand the MaST program at ECHS and include dynamic programs that aren’t offered at the CCC campus to draw more students to ECHS.
I wish you nothing but success regardless of your decision and I absolutely understand the position you are in, but there are creative solutions to the problem. Republican parents of MaST and Republican supporters of public education, I urge you to attend the Carteret County Republican executive committee meeting July 9th at 6 p.m. to voice your displeasure with county leadership.
Carteret County Public School Board of Education 2014-2018
Technology, policy, budget, Strategy Committee Member