Board reaches compromise

Published 11:22 am Saturday, December 19, 2009

WINDSOR – The answer went from yes to no to partially.

When the Bertie County Board of Education took up a series of fundraising requests from Bertie High School during their December 7 meeting, the board took some time to reach a consensus.

Members of the high school faculty requested the opportunity to hold a doughnut sale, plate sale, talent show and dance as fundraisers. Most of those plans were acceptable to school board members, but the dance met with opposition.

“Most of it is fine, but I have some problems with it,” board member Rickey Freeman said. “The last time, I believe there were shots fired in the parking lot afterwards and that concerns me.”

Fellow board member Alton H. Parker agreed.

“If it bites you one time, you have to be careful about the possibility of it happening again,” he said.

Board member Pamela Chamblee saw it differently, however, saying she felt it was a one-time incident and that current students should not be punished for what previously happened.

Vice Chair Gloria Lee said she believed if security were present, the problem could be eliminated and wanted the students to have opportunities that had been given to other students.

“I think Mr. (G. Fisher) Mitchell will plan well,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chip Zullinger said, referring to the high school principal.

Chamblee said she believed planning for security would remedy the situation, but Parker said he believed there were just some incidents that couldn’t be planned for.

Board Chairwoman Emma H. Johnson said she had mixed feelings about the issue.

“One part of me says yes and one part says no,” she said. “I’m afraid of what could happen if you have all these people at the school at one time.”

Parker and Freeman said they were not concerned as much about the Bertie High School students, but what would happen when students from other counties were invited.

“Sometimes we just don’t mix well when you have Bertie County students and Hertford County or Bertie County and Martin County,” Parker said. “That has to be taken into consideration.”

After more discussion, Lee moved to approve the fundraising requests from Bertie High as submitted. When the vote was called for by Johnson, only Lee and Chamblee voted in favor. Parker, Freeman and Johnson voted against and the motion was declared defeated.

Freeman then made a motion to allow for the doughnut and plate sale. That motion passed without objection.

Lee then introduced another motion to approve the talent show only. Freeman asked her to add the caveat that the principal provide his plans for security to the superintendent and Lee agreed.

With that addition, the motion passed by a 5-0 vote.