School Board plans district meetings

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2006

WINDSOR – As an elected official, the best way to feel the pulse of your constituents is to meet them face-to-face.

That’s the idea behind a decision made collectively by the five members of the Bertie County Board of Education as each has scheduled town-hall style meetings in their respective districts.

Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, Superintendent of Bertie Public Schools, will accompany each Board member at the meetings.

“This gives each of us an opportunity to hear directly from the citizens in our home districts,” Seaton Fairless, School Board Chairman, said.

He continued, “The issues we are facing and the decisions we must make require input from everyone, citizens from the entire county. It’s also important that we, as Board members, have the chance to talk to our citizens directly and to explain the tough choices we have to make which are based on the data before us.”

Fairless added it was extremely important for the citizens to fully understand the issues that are currently a cause for concern.

“We will lay out the facts so that everyone can understand that we have the best interest of the students at heart.”

All meetings are scheduled for 6-8 p.m. as follows:

Board member Gloria Lee’s meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 23 at the Indian Woods Missionary Baptist Church Family Life Center.

Fairless will host his meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the Colerain Community Building.

On Monday, Jan. 30, Board member Melinda Eure will conduct her meeting at the Windsor Community Building.

The old John B. Bond School in Lewiston will be the site of Board member Gary Cordon’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Board member Rickey Freeman will host his meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Oxley Hill Baptist Church in Merry Hill.

Bertie School Board members have been under a microscope since April of last year when a study, ordered by the Bertie Board of Commissioners and conducted by MGT of America, found several problem areas within the school system, including mis-use of credit cards by school administrators, an overabundance of county-owned vehicles and questionable cell phone usage.

Dr. Collins-Hart and the Bertie Board of Education have addressed and took action on a majority of the problems identified in the MGT study.

Meanwhile, a request made to the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a closer look into the credit card usage has been forwarded to the North Carolina SBI for further investigation.

Additionally, several public meetings resulted in Bertie citizens urging School Board members not to close Askewville or J.P. Law elementary schools. However, those two schools, and possibly Aulander Elementary, may close if the federal court decides to accept the School Board’s desegregation plan submitted in late December to the United States Department of Justice.