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Q&A from community forums

posted May 4, 2017, 6:56 AM by Valerie Newton   [ updated May 10, 2017, 5:41 AM ]
The Bladen County Schools Board of Education will be conducting four (4) community forums for the purpose of discussing school facilities, consolidation, and construction. The forums will be held on the following dates and at the following locations:


· May 1 at Tar Heel Middle School, 6:00 p.m.

· May 2 at Clarkton School of Discovery, 6:00 p.m.

· May 4 at East Arcadia School, 6:00 p.m.

· May 9 at Elizabethtown Middle School, 6:00 p.m.


Persons living in or around these schools or who have an interest in public education in Bladen County are invited to attend.

Attached to the bottom of this page is a pdf file of the presentation given by the Superintendent.

Tar Heel Middle School Community Forum

May 1, 2017, 6:00 p.m.

Audience Questions and Panel Answers Board members present: Vinston Rozier, Roger Carroll, Chris Clark, Dennis Edwards, Glenn McKoy, Gary Rhoda

1. Where is Bladen Lakes?  Is there a possibility of building a K-8 school in the Tar Heel area?  Why “ship” our kids to Dublin?

2. Why are you closing local schools and transporting students long distances?

ADM, Enrollment declining - less money from state


Bd. members would love to keep all schools

3. How can anyone justify leaving the entire western portion of the county without a school?

Gave #’s of schools in each part of the county

If we had our choice, we would want 3 new schools - comes with a cost

12 schools on western of CF River, 1 on East

4.  Are you going to build a school at Tar Heel for students in this part of the county?

Yes….new school in Tar Heel

5.  When will final decisions be made on building K-8 school at Tar Heel?

Proposal to CC

They must make a decision to fund and if yes, HOW?

Money they have, bond issue for voting, additional property tax, or qualified school bond (does not require voting)

All resides with CC- control of purse strings

6.   Where does Dublin Primary stand in these closings?

At this time, no closure

Shift 20-30 students to new building

7.  What are your plans for the EC kids?

As always, schools will address needs

# of teachers provided based on needs of EC students

New building can be designed appropriately to address EC needs

8.  Will PVP school be closed for the year of 2017-18?  If so where will these students be housed?

No - if all stars in alignment - PVP would close in 2020 -would be coming to a brand new building

9.  We do not need to build another school with PVP and THM?  Why change this?

Goes back to aging building and changing populations

Ex.  replace floor at THM - 900,000

Drainage wall to collapse - 27,000

New roof PVP

Replace HVAC units

If keep investing - same as paying for new building

Ex.  Car upkeep vs new

10.  What would teacher transition look like?  Would you re-interview?

Attrition, retirements

Less teachers would reduce vacancies in district

Teachers would make request, assignments using a fair process

Will test scores make a difference in the selection of schools consolidated?

No - look at balanced populations in schools

How does a larger school help students greater than a small neighborhood


Quality teacher makes the difference

Small class sizes - no research to support that class size makes a difference

Prefer a smaller school to a large school

Contrary to belief….with consolidation still be small schools

11.  What can we do as a community and school officials together to promote the sales tax in Bladen County to help with school funding?  It has failed 5 times.  I believe it is due to the public not being educated on it.

` Difficult question - solicit thoughts of Bd members

If want quality schools, investment in children

Build new jail - judge order

Not situation in schools - keep maintained

Citizens tell .25 sales tax - tell CC - we will vote and pass if earmarked for


1/4 C. sales tax - generates 400-500 thousand

Not enough of “pie” for people to vote - if my school is first - vote for it

If my school is last - don’t vote

Sales tax - majority would come from ETown

Lottery funding - What doing with it?

15-16 mil - what doing with it?

Received about 4 mil in capital outlay in last 10 years

State has supplanted with these funds - We call it Rob Peter to pay Paul

No new money

Over lottery since started - 15 mil received - but people in BC have spent 40 mil

in playing lottery

14.If we build a K-8 school, where will our PK students go?

PK-8 - will be at THM

Would not lose those students

PK needs to be much larger classrooms

  Approx 1300 -`1400 sq feet

15. What is wrong with the school's, old things are strong and that’s why we are here in this school tonight.  

No argument - old things are strong - but new things are strong too

Understand the nostalgia

Hard to walk away from what’s community/belongs

Ex.  Laurel, Miss - go to my old schools- school board has funded maintenance

But also lots of new buildings - I get that!

Our issue here - not enough money to maintain buildings

1.9 mil to retire debt - 900,000-1mil. Every year to retire debt

EB/WB will need roof replacements in 4-5 years - 1 mil for roofs

Not a single board member that does not care about children.  You have to talk to CC for funding

But this young child does not need to be going to school in a 120 year old building - There are things we cannot even do in this building -

Question - what about future for kids?

Graduation Rate - above state average

19 students graduate with associate degree - save parents 20,000 year

CTE proficiency rates - #1 in state

Drop out rates lowest

Bladen and Craven are only two LEA’s that made all three categories of reduced drop out rates, reduced

1:1 Laptop - one of 20 in state in initial implementation

How do we maximize tax dollars, future /legacy for children

What do we want to leave for them?

TY for coming out.  TY being concerned citizens

Rozier - Thank You for coming tonight

Edwards - Thank You for coming - Tar Heel community - in good position to get a new school - kids deserve it - hope everyone deserves it - best position in Bladen County

Everything important - urge you to contact CC

Jones CO. - state gov’t gave them money

Rozier - Tar Heel get a new school, PVP property - go back to community

Please call CC, state house - be collective group

Thank You


Adjourn   7:25 p.m.

Clarkton School of Discovery Community Forum

May 2, 2017, 6:00 p.m.

Audience Questions and Panel Answers Board members present: Vinston Rozier, Roger Carroll, Chris Clark, Dennis Edwards, Glenn McKoy, Gary Rhoda, Alan West

1. Will the tax bill for the two new schools fall on the taxes of property owners?  When will these changes take place?

  • The tax bill to pay for the high schools currently paid through tax revenue raised by county.  Don’t see on tax bill - debt will be retired in 5 years - reducing over time - about 7 mil remaining.

  • What about the new schools, field houses, new multi purpose buildings

    • Up to CC

    • Meeting last week to understand what can be financed without additional tax to property owners

    • CC would have to decide where additional funding would come - we can only make a request to CC, are not a taxing structure

2.Is the following the plan for consolidation of BTW and CSD?  The BOE of Bladen County is proposing the following:  BTW will be closed.  The 5th grade of BTW will be moved to CSD.  The K-4 at BTW will be moved to other schools in the county (Bladenboro, Elizabethtown, EA).  Dr. Taylor stated that the CSD in Clarkton will continue to house the Project Challenge Program (magnet school).”  Is this correct yes or no?

  • Almost yes--- not looking at BBP moves

3. For Booker T Washington grades K-4, have you given any consideration to constructing a facility or moving trailers in the area beside and/or behind the current Art Room at the Clarkton School of Discovery to house those kids instead of busing them to Bladenboro, Elizabethtown, or East Arcadia. This surely would eliminate the costs of busing across the county. Also, this would eliminate the early hours of travel to school and late hours of getting home in the evenings. I would be interested in someone completing a cost benefit study on this approach.

  • Yes, one of issues we have previously discussed.  If bring PK-4 students to CSD - modular unit or renovations to CSD to house those students

  • Modular 500,000

  • Renovations - millions

4. What time will school start?  Is it feasible to use modules (modulars) at CSD for K-4?

  • Start time based on transportation routes - efforts to have some form of unity with school types - elementary, ms, hs

  • Impacts - sharing of buses - because of this, one school must start before the other

  • Would adjust in transportation

5.Cumberland County is preparing to apply for a federal magnet grant to establish a new magnet school in Cumberland County.  When will the Superintendent of BCS realize that CSD - Bladen County’s Magnet School, is something to be proud of and to be protected?

  • Application of federal grants - we look at all the time - competitive grants

  • Haven’t been a time when we haven’t been proud of CSD students and students in all 13 buildings

  • While AIG housed at CSD - we hang our hat on students all over the district

  • 19 students Assoc Degree

  • School safety, crime reports - one of 2 districts lowered rates

  • CTE - #1

  • As good or better as anybody in state with less resources

6.CSD supporters and Clarkton citizen expect that Project Challenge will be expanded to include 5th graders.  When will this happen?

  • Any decision about PC is addressed every two years

  • State plan submitted to NCDPI

  • Need to review financial costs

  • AIG teachers - 4 - 2.5 paid from AIG funding source

  • Curriculum committee would discuss - expansion

  • AIG resources throughout the county

  • Only AIG - grades 6-8 at CSD

7. Now that CSD will have a 5th grade, when will it be allowed to house 5th graders from across the county so that those students will be part of the magnet program?

  • Just answered with last response

8. The enrollment for BTW is not accurate. WIll all of the teachers and staff from BTW be reassigned?  

  • Addressed enrollment issue - fluctuates daily - report was from Jan. 23

  • Assignments - question last night also  - will make sure we work with admin/principals to address any personnel issues

  • Vacancies throughout district  (ex. Like the draft choice)

  • Reassure every teacher - not an issue of having a job

  • Already a teacher shortage - positions we cannot fill

  • Every LEA in state has teacher shortages - positions open and cannot be filled- also challenged to retain teachers

  • Would have a transition plan

9. Bladen County students who live near a neighboring county’s school can they attend that school and the $ be paid to that school per student?

  • Multi-faceted question -

  • Rocky Mount  - example  - students coming to school from outside district

    • Requires release from county where student resides

    • Any parent living in EA, Clarkton, Kelly - if they want to go to a neighboring district because it is closer, they are supposed to obtain approval/permission from BOE

    • Can charge a fee if they want to attend in a different system

    • Clinton - we charged 500 fee

    • Should get permission from BOE

10. What would happen to BTW School once it’s closed?

  • Potentially be used for BCS Professional Development Center similar to the ERC (Educational Resource Center) in Cumberland County.

Thank You for questions

Decisions about school consolidation not easy - not always community productive

Any kind of plan that causes a town to lose schools - we got no support for that

We have to make decision with what people and live with - the level of pain we can take

CC put pressure on BOE and Superintendent - “You have to do something!”

Because of that - we have to look at options for future

Rozier - Thank You -Taylor, community

  • Take in consideration of state bonds, beyond local

  • We must move forward

  • Senators, legislators, CC

  • Any BOE members like to share?

    • Carroll - situation must be addressed - now or later - eventually something has to be done- going to cost me and you as taxpayers

    • Someone has to take stand and give teachers what they need

    • Kids so much smarter

    • Help teachers and kids stay on top

  • West

    • Nothing to add but we don’t take this lightly

    • Been working on consolidation since I have been on BOE

  • McKoy

    • Do all we can to keep school open and improve education

  • Clark

    • TY for coming out - time to do something

    • Why put off tomorrow what you can do today

  • Edwards

    • TY

    • Clarkton - show lot of pride in school and community

    • One of reasons we reconsidered

    • Would love to have your support - appreciate all

Newton - Q&A from all forums will be posted on district website

Rozier - closing prayer

Adjourn 7:25 pm

East Arcadia School Community Forum

May 4, 2017, 6:00 p.m.

Audience Questions & Panel Answers

Board members present: Vinston Rozier, Chris Clark, Glenn McKoy, Gary Rhoda

Time travel for EA Kent Allen -

  • Elementary would still attend EA MS would attend either CSD or ETM

  • Students on southside of CF river would attend CSD

  • Students on Hwy 53 Blevins area would attend CSD

  • Students on Hwy 53 north of Blevins would attend ETM

  • Students addt’l travel time 45 minutes - buses can only go 45 mph

1. If there are consolidations made, are you worried about parents moving their kids to other counties that are closer?

  • That is something occurring right now.  We know that is a reality, new school buildings….that is where parents want to send their children.  They deserve modern facilities.  Parents may be upset about living closer to this or that school, but the board cannot control that.  We recognize that when we make changes, people make take other options...like charter schools.  We are happy to put our results up against any other school programs.  

2.With HB 13 coming through will this affect the K-3 classrooms and teacher additions?

  • To some degree I personally have done a lot of work at the state level to deal with HB13 the class size reduction bill

  • talked earlier about allotments per class -  no more than 21 students in that class with HB 13 now we can have up to 24 we would need 11 addt’l teachers senate compromise is 23 max students

  • Would not affect class size structure in BC with modified HB 13 compromise.  Was a major concern but now it is not an issue  

3. When are consolidations beginning?

  • At this point the timeline is the Fall of 2018.

  • Amount of time needed to do a consolidation plan

  • School consolidations would require construction, enrollment numbers, bus routes

  • Current configuration would continue through 2017/2018 SY

  • Takes a minimum of 2 mos to construct a new bldg

  • Earliest to get in a new bldg would be 2020

4. Could we have year round schools to pull in parents and enrollment from that appeal of a charter school?

  • Nothing that restricts a year round school.  Since I’ve been here, Never had a large request or desire to have a year round school.  Have tourist industry, White Lake, many may not want a year round and in a rural county these can impact a year round school model.

5.What will happen to the teachers that won’t have grades at EAS?

  • Those teachers would be reassigned to a different school based on the need within different schools

  • Place in a school where there is a vacancy

  • Teacher shortage in NC; Dr. Beatty competes with 114 other school districts to recruit teachers to Bladen; it simply comes down to dollars & cents; larger supplement in other districts often entice teacher candidates

6.  Is it possible to leave EA like it is?

  • Yes

7. How does the proposed plan accelerate progress of students moving forward, especially for the most vulnerable; ie - long distances, long hours to & from, etc?

  • Consolidation will lead to more efficiency in operations and more resources available to students from a concentrated use of funds.

Comment from Board member:

Rhoda - Maintenance director presented different plans to the board. I would like some of those plans to be known so the community knows what other options are available.

Everybody can’t write what they want on a card.  At THM, lots of Hispanic families but no interpreter. I think we need to ask them what they think because they didn’t submit any questions. I think we need to look at some of those other plans.

Taylor -

  • Shift of the financial burden on schools from state to local - LEA

  • State budget was 54% funding for education, currently reduced to 38%

  • We work for you - I am Super but I work for you and your children

Rozier -

  • Trying to plan our next steps

  • Review questions on website

  • We will work together, make it happen, no other option


  • TY being here

  • Large Endeavor involved in

  • Berlene Graham here

  • This community has history of working together - be on common ground

  • Talk to CC, state legislators


  • TY for opportunity to interim

  • Glad you are here

Closing prayer

Adjourn 7:30 pm

Elizabethtown Middle School Community Forum

May 9, 2017, 6:00 p.m.

Audience Questions and Panel Answers

Board members present: Roger Carroll, Chris Clark, Dennis Edwards, Glenn McKoy, Gary Rhoda

1.  Is the PreK program going away?  No - have 204/06 slots - majority County with some private slots in two daycares.

2. If Clarkton goes 5-8 wll project challenge go 5-8 as well?

As I said, revisit AIG Plan if we decide to expand program 5-8

3. When will consolidation take place?  Fall 2018   

    • New construction complete by 2020   
    • move into building by Fall of 2020

    • Plans, site prep, land acquisition, etc all have to be complete

4. Have you looked at the cost of metal roofing vs shingles/tar, etc?  With a metal roof we could potentially get 50+ years!!  The current roof has lasted 16?

  • Yes...we have looked at several options

  • BBM, EA, BBP has metal roofs

  • When we look at roof replacement, look at feasibility of metal roofing

5.  With proposed tax increases how many years is it projected that it will take to pay the expenses needed for new schools?  Roofs?  Field houses?

  • LGC will not allow financing beyond 20 years

  • Depending on other facility issues, CC could decide on a funding model that would work within the 20 years

  • Q:  With ¼ c. sales tax - how long

    • Roughly 500,000/yr - half mil/year

    • So whatever you have for building project, would have additional half mil to reduce debt

6. What other ways have we looked at raising funds?  Could we reach out to past athletes of our county who have furthered their athletic careers to possibly sponsor our fundraising efforts?

  • Could, but you don’t finance county projects with donations

  • Several mechanisms to fund construction projects

    • Property tax, can do without consent of voters

    • Passing of bond - voter ballot

    • Qualified zone academy bonds - does not require vote - CC must pay back with funds to retire that debt

    • School system - pass sales tax - each county has leverage to increase sales tax at certain percentage about state cap

    • Lottery funding - roughly 4 mil  -

      • 16 mil to BC -

      • GA supplanted and we now pay teachers with this money

7. Wouldn’t you think the time is a bit early for the children and also the bus drivers?

  • Absolutely

  • Gause:  Earliest start time for drivers- 4:45 a.m  - first buses - EC leave to pick up children and PC children

  • Is a challenge for us

  • Rhoda - let person that wrote question to explain

  • Taylor - because of large geographical area, current or new, is a challenge because of where students live.  Yes, start time and travel time with either plan but with new plan, we want to be aware of travel times - but logistical reasons sometimes don’t allow us to reduce time.  There are slo state requirements

8. East and West do not have field houses at this time, how important is this? This wasn’t built when schools were built, why? What has made this so important now?

  • Because we recognize extracurricular is part of student growth and if we are going to continue, need to have adequate field houses.  Can choose not to have these and work with what we have now.  

  • Idea is to improve facilities, good for children, academically, athletic programs

  • Field houses are not top priority compared to need for school facilities, but if we can provide, we want to

9. ETMS can serve more students than it is currently serving.  Why are you not moving CSD’s Project Challenge to ETMS?  The savings from transportation alone is probably significant.

  • That plan was reviewed and proposed in the past - but BOE did not support

  • That is a plan we had, not approved

10. When you combine other community it cause problem & like the high school the safety of the children and the bus driver that very early to get up.

  • Comment -

  • Yes….true - we can keep the current structure we have and still early morning, some students have longer travels, but reality in larger county and students living in remote areas.  

  • In remote areas, sometimes only one route to there and back.  We definitely understand the idea of buses starting early in morning, but no way to get beyond without building a new facility.

  • Does anyone remember the last time in Kelly?

    • B. Walker - lots of smaller schools that were consolidated - people did not like, but we had to consolidate

  • Parent - shouldn’t children attend in assigned district?  Re:  YES - Then why are CSD kids allowed to go to other schools when they live in the CSD or BTW attendance area

    • RE:  students apply to go to other schools

    • Students living in BCS - no matter where they live - does not change the state funding we receive - so does not take $ from the schools

    • Parent - But it takes money from the school when the student leaves CSD - go right to BB

    • Safety is not being considered  when combining different areas and ages RE: Safety is our biggest concern always keeping in mind the best plan for all age groups affected

11.  So we are looking at sales tax - great way to obtain funds because everyone contributes?  Can we raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol tax, etc

  • CC only have direct taxing authority on property taxes

  • 1 cent. sales tax = 4-50,000/year

  • Property tax would be a smaller amount because of less property - compared to a Wake County

Ending comments

  • Many LEA’s /Superintendent  dealing with same - resistance

  • People want schools that are in close proximity to their residence

  • We can keep 13 schools and add more if we want to, but the state is only going to send us money for 4500 students

  • Only other option is for CC to support additional dollars to fund the needs/personnel for 13 schools

  • Funding for any additional schools will come from the 9 members of the CC


  • TY for attending, input

  • Questions on our webpage

  • All hearts and minds clear - prayer


  • Don’t like format of questioning

  • You don’t want to hear the voice of the people

  • THM - Hispanics did not have a voice - could not speak English

  • Is CSD a magnet school?  You said at CSD it was ?  What is a magnet school?  It’s not a magnet school

  • What is the student teacher ratio of CSD and ETM?

  • Why don’t we send CSD students back to ETM and lower the teacher/student ratio at the other schools?

  • Why did you promote this plan?  RE:  Bc this is a plan the community will support - we have had multiple plans- towns do not want to lose their schools, so this is a plan that can offer all communities a part of the plan

  • Transportation of students to CSD every day -

  • Cole  25:1   CSD - 16:1 teacher - ratio

  • Harrelson BBM - high ratio    CSD  - low

    • Got Beta, etc.  Harrelson 5th gr. Averages 28:1 student teacher ratio

  • Cole - ETM - STEM Facilitator (base school)

  • Other schools just have lab - not a facilitator

  • ETM and BBM are Title 1 schools - they should get the relief for teachers not CSD

  • If I tell you that I am discriminating….what should you do?   

    • Re:  You can tell me and it’s my responsibility to look into it.  

  • Your argument for the only reason to not move BTW to CSD was due to bathrooms - RE: No, if you must do renovations based on BTW (age of children, smaller size physically) then it would come at a cost

Superintendent's Presentation at Forums

Valerie Newton,
May 4, 2017, 3:39 PM
Valerie Newton,
May 4, 2017, 9:58 AM