School of Hard Knocks

I'm a little stunned. I knew that the University was working on designing and opening a model school for 3 and 4 year olds. What I didn't know is that city schools officials and UNC have proposed a plan to remove pre-K through second grades from Seawell Elementary School and site Seawell's youngest students at “First School”--- a model FPG Child Development Institute program designed to “assure a successful school entry experience for all children.” The pressure is on to review and accept this surprising proposal quickly and to turn Seawell Elementary School into a grades 3-5 school.

Tony Waldrop, Vice-Chancellor at UNC-CH, says the University supports the “First School” proposal and will provide a school site from the Carolina North property close to or adjacent to Seawell. City schools staff like the unique opportunity too. They project that the city schools need to build two new elementary schools within the next 6 years, and argue that this “First School” option may be lost if the city schools don't move quickly. It is expected that the cost for this new school will be less than the current budget for Elementary School #10. The opening date for “First School” would be August 2009. Construction of Twin Creeks Elementary School would be delayed.

Dialogue with the County Commissioners, the general public, and the Seawell community will begin once the School Board gives the proposal the nod.


It seems the CHCCS BOE has been pretty flippant toward the BOCC lately, to their potential detriment. Do they forget that every word is recorded? Maybe the media reporting has exagerated that tone.

My sense is that the CHCCS BOE understands that it is the OCS BOE and community that needs to decide how much they want to raise taxes in the OCS district. Further, I heard some CHCCS BOE members express that they don't think it is the CHCCS BOE's place to tell the OCS community what they should be doing.

The CHCCS BOE wants the OCS community to have the autonomy and local control that they should have.

The real question is to the OCS BOE, whose board is split between those who were elected on a "no district tax" platform (and continue to oppose tax increases and are happy with the 4th highest local funding in the state) and those who want to increase taxes in OCS 25% to reach the CHCCS level of the 2nd highest funding in the state (according to NC DPI latest stats).

As for the BOE taxation question, I would point out that CHCCS' funding is pretty much in line with the US average, according to NC DPI and I would also point out that the BOE is in the unenviable position of being criticized for the minority achievement gap, but has no control over funding. Apparently, the BOE's in a large majority of the country have taxation authority.

Furthermore, if each BOE has taxation authority, then the BOCC would not be caught in the middle of the OCS community's struggle to determine what taxation level the OCS community desires.

It was mentioned that there was going to be a column on BOE taxation authortiy in the herald-sun, but I have not seen it.


I took a look at a tape of the meeting. Ed Sechrest's comments were organized to address each of the points in turn. The paper, I believe, miss interpreted his quote comments. The quote should be:

“I would be willing to support this [Pedersen's response to defining equity] just on the theory if we give them some words, they'll go away. On the second one, I don't have a problem with ... , I think this kind of reflects what we saw in the study before. And yes we do, we would like taxing authority. Just my two cents."

I'll say it again - we should be trying to figure out ways to keep toddlers out of institutions. This is way too early to herd them into buildings, keep them out of the community for a huge part of the year, and teach in a regimented style.

WCHL reported yesterday that the $28M (?) price tag, especially for the number of seats, couldn't be justified and that the funds would be used for a more traditional outlet.

Certainly something we'll be looking into. Especially since it was named as one of the more likely initial elements of Carolina North at the recent public info session.

Kirk, the way First School was initially rolled out vis-a-vis CN reminded me of how Chatham's Briar Chapel developers leveraged support via "the Woods" charter school. UNC led off with the FS in their 2nd outreach - with the presenter spending more time on it than any subsequent presenter on other more substantive issues.



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.