03/26/04 — Group says it feels ignored in school bond process

View Archive

Group says it feels ignored in school bond process

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 26, 2004 2:05 PM

A Goldsboro community group says it has not received the same consideration or public discussion from the school board as other groups.

Representing Concerned Clergy, the Rev. Dr. William Barber said the group is appalled that the school board is asking for a bond referendum that will ultimately foster segregation in the county.

Barber said his group has made repeated efforts to meet with the school board and made a presentation at a board meeting as recently as Feb. 2, but received no response from either.

He said that communities have been "politicking," and lists have been requested from individual schools and principals about immediate needs without a clear focus of the long-term needs. He said that the move to bring community schools to areas like Grantham and Mount Olive is a warm and inviting notion but contributes to segregation.

"Is this a picture of good community schools, to have a segregated attendance area in a city that is almost 50-50 black and white? Will we not change this until some expensive litigation forces us to?" he wrote in a press release.

Barber said the school board seems to be selectively listening to groups.

"Isn't this strange," he wrote, "in other communities they listen to all the citizens but in the central district they choose who they will listen to?"

This week's announcement that the school board had completed its construction plan to be sent to the county commissioners also has Barber shaking his head.

"This plan will foster some more segregation, weak curriculum in the high schools, and it's not going to restructure the system in any way to deal with the issue of segregation," he said.

Barber said that one of the suggestions his group had offered was to introduce magnet schools to Wayne County.

"Several years ago, members of the board were pro magnet schools," he said. "And now they're anti magnet schools."

The group is planning to have its own community forum.

Barber said the group will meet today to schedule the public meeting for next week. A joint meeting with the NAACP is also being planned with former Sen. Howard Lee, now chairman of the state Board of Education.