04/06/04 — Decision coming: There is much to consider about the school proposal

View Archive

Decision coming: There is much to consider about the school proposal

Wayne County is facing a decision of enormous consequences. The voters probably will decide whether to embrace the Board of Education’s $82 million school-building proposal.

The plan is on the desks of the county commissioners now. They will seek funding for it, because it is recommended by the school board. Most likely, they will call for a bond referendum.

The outcome will be chock full of implications.

For example, because the school board has yielded to demands to build community high schools at Grantham and Mount Olive, we will decide whether small schools or large ones provide children the best educational opportunities.

Schools with large numbers of students can offer more varied curriculum and a greater variety of extra-curricular activities. Yet, community schools seem to foster greater parental support in addition to requiring less daily travel.

We must also decide whether the building plan as proposed is best for the inner-city schools of Goldsboro, which have become virtually all-black. Some black leaders are challenging the plan because it does nothing to further racial integration.

They feel that these schools should be more mixed, and their proposals for achieving a greater mix have included the magnet school concept.

Such issues certainly will be affected by a long-range countywide building plan.

As written, the plan proposes $3 million for the inner-city schools, a relatively small amount because population growth is occurring outside of the city.

We will have to decide whether increasing diversity in the city should be a focus of a long-range building plan, or whether most of the problems in those schools are actually problems within the homes of the children. Desegregating schools alone is not the answer for the children.

There is much for us to consider before we decide which way to go. Much is at stake for the pocketbooks of our taxpayers, and for our children.

Published in Editorials on April 6, 2004 11:26 AM