Swansboro, N.C.

Jan. 31, 2020

TO THE EDITIOR:    

As a parent of three children at White Oak Elementary School, I am deeply concerned about the rapidly growing population at our end of the county and that impact on our school. As a Carteret County native, I take pride in the education I was provided and want those same educational opportunities for my children. My husband and I chose this school district because, among many other reasons, WOES has a reputation for outstanding academics with some of the best and most dedicated teachers in the county.

Our children have had excellent experiences at this school and to that I credit their amazing teachers and committed administration.

However, it is of great concern that the costs of managing school facilities are receiving less attention than facility planning. WOES is a fifty-plus-year-old school that was not built to support the more than 830 children currently enrolled. The percentage of the operating budget for the maintenance and management of the school facilities has decreased, creating a capital renewal crisis placed squarely on the shoulders of our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

Three years ago, the PTO was forced to take action in rebuilding our playground because incident reports were so significant they included broken arms. While parents agree that fundraising is an essential part of the collaborative educational process, the facilities maintenance needs should be addressed accordingly in the budget.

As parents at WOES, we cannot simply come to school and eat lunch with our children. Our tiny cafeteria has no room for parents or volunteers and is serving 830-plus children in one hour and forty minutes. That means that two full classrooms of children must go through the cafeteria line every five minutes to ensure that all children can eat lunch. If I want to eat lunch with my children, I have to do so in the courtyard area, meaning that I can only eat with them during nice weather. If it is cold, raining, or the weather is otherwise inclement I cannot come for lunch.

Secondly, our gymnasium cannot hold our entire student body. The space is so limited that student assemblies must be separated into two groups. This requires our PTO to spend double money when providing PTO sponsored events to the children. When teachers plan performances and want to invite parents, all of the activities must be done in the classroom because there is not enough room for students AND parents in the gym.

While improved academic and social climate for our children is the top priority, we cannot ignore the need for provisioning adequate professional spaces for the teachers, staff, and administration. Currently, building logistics challenges have created privacy concerns by specialists and mental health professionals sharing spaces. Students receiving Speech Therapy can be interrupted by students with behavioral challenges during their sessions because of shared spaces. This creates a particularly impactful situation during testing.

School counselors are faced with privacy concerns because meetings with one counselor prevents the other counselor from working freely with sensitive information.

The school nurse is housed in a shared office space, creating a constant concern for shared communicable illnesses, as well as the challenge of keeping health information private.

It is with great understanding of the admittedly difficult process for building life-cycle cost analyses that we are seeking attention to our many facilities maintenance and growth concerns. There are over a thousand homes planned for our end of the county and the overcrowding is going to continue to exacerbate our school’s aging maintenance concerns.

I wish to add that, for the past three years, our Board of Education has submitted their budget, of which our County Commissioners have approved approximately half. This number is alarming and we, the parents and citizens of this great Carteret County, must take action on behalf of our children.

SARAH STIPE PLAUT

(8) comments

Big Fat Drunk Republican

The answer is obviously prayer in school. The decline of our educational system is connected to removing God from our schools.

What are we teaching these kids anyway? All that elitist stuff like science, math and English doesn’t prepare these kids for life.

I mean, I mean it’s obvious how to fix it, just defund the public school systems just enough to strong arm them into privatization. You see, this school system is another socialism program aimed at educating our entire nations youth, i say phooey!

Time to MAGA the schools, Just look to Trump University as a guiding light! Ad in a little bible study and stop wasting time and money on trips to museums or nature field trips and use churches for these trips.

As far as school size and infrastructure needs. Come on! Back in my day we walked in the snow up hill both ways, once again this is where socialized schools are failing your children.

It’s simple, just charge and entry fee, parking and other cost to weed out those who enter really wanna be there. Eventually the cream will rise to the top.

David Collins

Eating lunch with your child , what’s up with that . Helicopter blades a thumping here ?

The other issues are the same most where ever you go . We have been discovered and the powers that be fall all over themselves to encourage rampant growth . Was going to say that it is time for a significant tax hike or perhaps a school impact tax of some sort but historically any additional revenue is usually diverted to other things . The 100 counties that receive money from the Education Lottery cut their education budget money for education in anticipation of the lottery distribution funds . Have read that not one school has been built solely with lottery receipts . The money usually ends up funding the administration’s many wants and not so much needs . Like so many other government things the schools have morphed into something totally unrecognizable to we older folk . Actual instruction has been swallowed up in needless paperwork followed by endless testing to generate data required by those up on high to justify their existence . Problem students have been allowed to stay with the general population , dragging everyone down to their level . All it the name of inclusion ? Really ?

Solution , heck I don’t know . Common sense says trash it all and start over . Reality is somewhere in the mix . It does start with someone refusing to sacrifice the wellbeing of the children to the whims of misguided officials . "Enough said , said to much . Best of luck , best of luck .

Osprey

County Commissioners have approved the half of the School Board Budget ? Need a fact check

dc

Why not something really drastic like a split schedule. Could include 3, 10-hour days versus the current 5, 6-hour days. Group 1 that does not recognize Sundays as a special day of significance attends school Sundays, Mondays & Tuesdays. Group 2 that recognizes Sundays attends Wednesdays , Thursdays & Fridays. Everyone takes off Saturday. Might even change the school year. Some taking extended vacation in November (Thanksgiving) & December (Christmas) while others take traditional summer vacation. Since technology is so great let those 16 & older or juniors & seniors work mostly from home. Generally just give all the folks whatever floats their boat since that's about where we're at anyway.

dc

Quit calling those classroom leaders "teachers". They are now "technology facilitators". And, why do we need libraries full of books in the "Age of Technology & The Internet"? Schools full of technology should have gone "paperless" by now.

JusticeForAll

One would think that in America, humans would allow their offspring to get the best education possible because information is so accessible in today's world. And at this point we should be able to discern fact from fiction. Seems we are fighting evolutionary progress. Pity.

Perspective

dc - I sincerely hope you're using verbal irony, and that you don't truly believe your comment about "teachers".

dc

Irony it is!

Welcome to the discussion.

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