BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Board of Education made official a previous vote to not admit a freshman class at the Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School for the 2021-22 academic year.
During its April 13 meeting, the school board approved amendments to its memorandum of understanding with Carteret Community College to that effect. There was no discussion on the matter because it was approved along with other measures under the board’s consent agenda.
The amendments reflect action taken by the board during a special meeting in March. At that meeting, the board, citing concern over not having recurring state funds for the school’s operation, voted to transition MaST from a school into a program, but allow students already attending to continue until they graduate. With the most recent action, there will be no more freshman classes admitted as the school winds down.
The March action is among several things done by the school board that has frustrated some parents, prompting them to take legal action against the panel for not allowing children to enroll in the school. At the March meeting, the attorney representing the parents, Stacey Gahagan of Raleigh, said she was pursuing further legal action. She could not be immediately reached for comment regarding the amended MOU.
The amendments are to a MOU between the school board and CCC approved Aug. 4, 2020, for the operation of MaST.
The first amendment states there will be no ninth grade class recruited or enrolled at MaST for the 2021-22 school year. The second amendment states additional students, if qualified, will be admitted into the existing MaST classes, “one of which is expected to graduate in 2022 and the second of which is expected to graduate in 2023.”
The agreement states the board requested the amendment “to give its staff and the College sufficient time to study and potentially propose a plan that will include opportunities for high school students to be dual enrolled in vocational courses of study with a particular goal that the students, upon graduation from the College, are well trained and well prepared to enter the Carteret County workforce in good paying jobs.”
The document also calls for the board and college to “assemble administrative teams to plan for increased opportunities for high school students to be dual enrolled in vocational disciplines.”
The teams are charged with considering issues like “lowering academic barriers to college enrollment in vocational courses, suitable vocational and other college courses, transportation between the students’ home schools and the college, scheduling, staffing space, counseling and such other matters as the administrative teams deem advisable for a highly effective cooperative program.”
They are to report their recommendations to the board and CCC “as soon as practical and hopefully in time to implement increased opportunities for dual enrollment in the 2021-2022 school year.”
The board must also report the status of MaST to the State Board of Education, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the N.C. Department of Community Colleges.
MaST meets on the campus of CCC in Morehead City and allows students to earn high school and college credits simultaneously.
Dual enrollment also allows high school students to take community college courses and simultaneously earn high school and college credits. The difference is currently only high school juniors and seniors can take dual-enrollment courses and there is no transportation provided for those students. The school board has requested funds to transport dual-enrolled students from high schools to CCC in its 2021-22 county budget request.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.