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The County Board of Education will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday to receive comments regarding the potential closure of the Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School.

 

BEAUFORT The County Board of Education will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday to receive comments regarding the potential closure of the Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School.

The hearing will be at the start of the board’s regular meeting in the school system’s central services office on Safrit Drive.

In April, the board called for a study on closing MaST after the Class of 2023 graduates. Members also set a public hearing for June. The school’s Class of 2022 received diplomas Thursday night.

Citing budget concerns as the main reason, some board members have tried multiple times to close or limit the operation of the school, which opened on the campus of Carteret Community College in August 2018. The school allows students to earn high school and college credits at the same time.

Many of the 31 members of the MaST Class of 2022 not only received high school diplomas Thursday, but associate’s degrees and certificates from CCC in May.

As part of the resolution adopted by the board in April, members approved not enrolling a freshman class at MaST for the upcoming school year. That has been the board’s policy for the previous two years as well.

The resolution called for Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson and his staff to conduct the study. The study is to include whether similar programs can be offered at the traditional high schools. It’s also to factor in sentiments of county commissioners and Carteret Community College.

It’s also to focus on the impact on students and cost of providing additional school facilities in the event of a closure.

The board approved the resolution by a 6-1 vote in April, with Katie Statler opposing. Ms. Statler, in opposing the motion, said, “I would support a pause and reorganization of MaST. I will not be voting in favor of the study of the closure.”

The resolution cites several reasons for the possible closure: the state of North Carolina failed to fund its share of the operating costs for the first two years, a question of whether the school fulfilled an expectation of offering primarily vocational and technical courses, and enrollment complications due to the uncertainty of the school’s future.

With the General Assembly last fall including $180,000 in recurring funds for MaST in its 2021-22 budget, parents and students, during the December board meeting and again in April, asked members to reinstate the school as it was originally intended with four grade levels.

In other action, the board will:

  • Consider awarding a $12.3 million construction contract to WIMCO Corp. for additions and renovations to Croatan High School. Funds would come from a portion of a $42 million school bond referendum approved in November 2020.

  • Recognize school board attorney Neil Whitford for his 35 years of service to the board.

  • Recognize the child nutrition department for getting a good financial audit by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

  • Consider face covering requirements as mandated by state law each month.

  • Consider approval of a $1.1 million budget revision to the 2021-22 operating and county capital/bond budget to adjust for a summer reading camp, funds received for MaST, transfer of vacant classroom teacher positions to maintenance contract services, replacement of three chillers, and salaries for NC Pre-K teachers and director pay.

  • Hear first reading of multiple policy revisions.

  • Receive updates on capital and bond projects.

  • Consider four-year appointment to Carteret Community College Board of Trustees. Those being considered include Penny Hooper, David Long, the Rev. Curtis Oden, Sara Shelp and Tyisha Teel.

  • Consider a confidential personnel matter in closed session.

Under the consent agenda, the board will:

  • Consider revisions to pre-kindergarten workdays in the 2022-23 academic school calendar to meet state requirements.

  • Consider Memorandum of Understanding for the East Carolina University-MATCH wellness program.

  • Consider 2022-23 local application for Career and Technical Education state/federal funding.

  • Consider the Bridges Alternative School Accountability model for the 2022-23 school year.

  • Consider student fees for the 2022-23 school year. Proposed changes for middle school student fees include a $5 locker fee, $5 lost lock fee, $10 locker damage fee and an increase from $10 to $20 for the National Junior Honor Society.

  • Consider approving submission of the consolidated grant application for Title I, II, III and IV programs for the 2022-23 school year to address the needs of economically disadvantaged students, English language learners and other education needs.

  • Consider 2022-23 school nutrition contracts.

  • Consider the local academically and intellectually gifted (AIG) education plan for the 2022-25 school years.

  • Consider contracts with Excel Learning Center and Beaufort Development Center for NC Pre-K programs, effective June 30, 2024.

  • Consider a $149,775 contract with Envision to provide middle school math programs. Funds for the programs would come from federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Stabilization (ESSERS) money and state textbook funds.

 

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

 

(5) comments

drewski

So funding is not an issue with the general assembly providing ongoing funds.

they have not enrolled any new mast students for 3 yrs making the program start from scratch.

The study is foreshadowed to close mast, since that is its title.

" It’s also to factor in sentiments of county commissioners" Why? isn't that why there is a separate BOE?

So giving motivated kids a leg up to possibly graduate highschool with an assoc. degree or completed certificate program is bad why?

Lets hope Dr. Jackson uses some common sense and fights to keep mast going with new enrollment come spring. Isn't that the role of someone committed to education? Giving kids every opportunity?

Osprey

The "separate" BOE is not so separate when there is a spouse and daughter in law of two of the commissioners. In regards to Jackson there are 15,000 reasons he is not supporting MaST. The BOE is simply abiding by the mandatory protocol to close a school that was spelled out last year by the County attorney when they realized there was a possibility of legal repercussion if the school was closed without following proper procedure. It was never about funding just good ol boy politics.

moreheadcityeye

[thumbup] Why is Carteret County the only area that would allow such political shenanigans to happen. Oh yeah they make it difficult for others to participate unless your change your political affiliation. So Sad!!!

John Bonney

You know... It seems like the best ideas; are the first ones killed off. The MAST program should be viewed as a shining star for the area. It deserves to be funded.

moreheadcityeye

You are so correct, I see on a daily basis the great work this school provides for those that want to excel in an environment that promotes excellence. [thumbup]

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