04/23/04 — Warsaw group seeks change in Duplin school system

View Archive

Warsaw group seeks change in Duplin school system

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 23, 2004 2:07 PM

WARSAW -- Parents, grandparents and business owners will ask to be on the May 4 school board agenda to talk about consolidating high schools.

They're inviting other parents to attend the meeting, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. on May 4. They want to explain why they feel consolidating the middle schools and the high schools will solve problems of "white flight" from the James Kenan school district.

Jim Harris and a group of about 25 people met Thursday night at Warsaw Town Hall to decide what to do next. Harris said consolidation was just one idea being pursued. The group just wants a solution to the problems experienced in the school district, he said.

"A tragedy has happened over the last 20 years," he said.

The group from Warsaw and some others from Kenansville approached the Duplin County Board of Education last month about the idea of consolidating James Kenan and North Duplin high schools. School and county officials were already meeting to discuss how to pay for consolidating the middle schools in Warsaw and Kenansville.

Their discussion with the school board raised the ire of North Duplin parents.

Members of the group said they want to push the school board for a decision. They're hearing reports that many parents are awaiting the school board's decision before deciding where to send their children to school next year. Many are taking their children to a private school across the county line in Sampson County.

In Warsaw, the parents and the school administrators are reluctant to get involved, said Harris. A member of the group reported that she had taken thousands of handouts to the schools in the district, and they disappeared without being distributed to the classrooms.

Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Kitchen said the group needs to ask the school board why they're not allowed to go into the schools.

Another member of the group suggested talking to church groups if they can't get into the schools.

Another woman said she wants to talk to the Kenansville town board, because she can see the same thing happening there that has happened in Warsaw.

"The parents are the answer here," said Harris. "We have to find a way to get more parents involved."