On Tuesday, Sept. 29, Sadie Perry and I met with Dr. Robert Taylor at the Board of Education in Elizabethtown to obtain additional research on his proposed plan for closing Clarkton School of Discovery and Booker T. Washington.
However, Dr. Taylor did not provide any additional information other than what he gave me last week — which does not include number crunching or research as it relates to cost savings.
I believe the citizens of this county, the Board of Education, and the county commissioners deserve a complete detailed report on how it is going to affect the county. We need information concerning the net cost savings minus the capital improvements, the criteria used by the AdHoc committee to determine the methodology for school closings, why the historical academic success is not factored into the decision and, last but not least, how will this affect the students and their success.
Someone said to me that the “Board of Education focuses on financial aspects and parents focus on academics, social environment, cultural, and extra curricular activities.” Why would we as citizens allow the Board of Education to close the school that has historically been the top performer in the county? Are there no other alternatives available in the county to cut with comparable savings? Will this proposal save $1 million, $2 million or less?
If you think this will not affect your community, remember that Clarkton High School was closed in 1992, and then only a few years later in 2001, the high schools were closed in Bladenboro and Tar Heel. If the board’s current plan is fully implemented, your community middle schools and some primary schools will be lost.
We talked with Dr. Taylor also concerning the required procedures in closing a school. (School Closing Procedure Relating to the Public Schools of North Carolina). A checklist is provided that entails all reports and information that should be completed prior to closing a school. This information was not available or he did not share it with us.
Please talk to your school board members in your respective areas and others and “let’s stop this plan now.” I still believe as I stated in my first article the Board still needs to “fall back and punt.”
Phyllis C. Miller