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Bertie leaders request second meeting

WINDSOR – There will be another meeting.

On the heels of Monday’s joint session between the Bertie Board of Commissioners and Board of Education, Rick Harrell, Chairman of the County Commissioners, has formally requested another meeting between the two elected entities.

Speaking at the end of Monday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting, Harrell and his fellow county leaders discussed several options for a second meeting with the School Board. That discussion was based on an assumption that the legal counsel for the School Board may file, prior to the Jan. 15, 2006 deadline, the two options agreed to by that board as part of a desegregation plan required by the United States Department of Justice.

“I feel we need another meeting with the Board of Education to discuss an option that will keep our community schools open and what type of funding options that proposed measure would require,” Harrell said Monday night.

The Commissioners, setting their January schedule, approved a 7 p.m. regular board meeting on Jan. 5. They further directed County Manager Zee Lamb send a letter to the Bertie Board of Education asking for a 4 p.m. joint meeting the same day.

Last week, the Bertie Board of Education, reversing an earlier decision, approved a motion that included two options – (1) To close John P. Law and Askewville elementary schools at the end of the 2006- 07 school year; or in the alternative, (2) if funding becomes available by the end of the 2006-07 school year, to close Aulander, John P. Law and Askewville elementary schools at the close of the 2008-09 school year and construct a new elementary school with a capacity of 450 students and to open that school at the start of the 2009-2010 school year.

Those options were met with resistance during Monday afternoon’s joint meeting where the Commissioners questioned the funding aspect while the public expressed concern over closing community schools. (See story, page 1A.)

In a matter related to the Bertie Public Schools system, the Commissioners, at their regular meeting on Monday night, approved $7,000 in funds for a January trip by the Bertie High School band to Texas where they have been invited to participate in the nationally televised All-American Bowl. The funds are contingent upon the Board of Education matching that amount.