Bertie boards to meet

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2006

WINDSOR – It will be a meeting of the minds.

On Monday, Bertie County’s elected officials will meet face-to-face as the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education are scheduled for an 11 a.m. session in the Commissioners meeting room.

The public is welcomed to attend.

According to Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb, the purpose of the joint meeting is to discuss a potential technology initiative for the county. He said that initiative deals with a proposal to provide public school students (grades 6-12) in the county with laptop computers.

“This is a two-stage proposal,” Lamb said. “First are the laptops and then we will seek an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to come in and offer wireless internet access to as much as the county as possible.”

Lamb said grants will be sought by both boards in an effort to help pay for this technology.

“If this project goes through, it will be a win-win situation for everyone,” Lamb noted. “Putting this type of technology into the hands of students, who are eager to broaden their educational horizons, is wonderful. The internet can provide endless amounts of information. It’s a classroom without walls.”

It is not known if the two boards will further discuss the closings of Askewville and J.P. Law elementary schools. On March 14 in Elizabeth City, Judge Terrence Boyle, United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, ruled in favor of a consent order as part of a desegregation plan submitted by the Bertie County Board of Education to the U.S. Department of Justice.

That plan includes the closing of the two schools and possibly shutting the doors on a third facility, Aulander Elementary, by the end of the 2008-09 academic year if funds become available to construct a new elementary school to serve 450 students. The proposed new elementary school would be constructed and opened by 2009 if there are sufficient funds identified and specifically earmarked for the project by no later than the end of the 2006-07 academic year.

However, during the last joint meeting (Dec. 19) between the two boards, the commissioners made it clear that the county was in dire need of a new high school, not a new elementary school, if and when the next round of state school bond money became available.

Both boards already have regular meetings scheduled for Monday.

The Board of Education will begin their meeting at 9 a.m. at the Bertie County Public Schools central office.

Bertie’s Board of Commissioners will open their regular meeting at 10 a.m. They have scheduled a recess at 11 a.m. in order to meet with the School Board and are expected to resume their regular meeting following that joint session.