05/02/04 — Duplin board to discuss school buildings

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Duplin board to discuss school buildings

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 2, 2004 8:13 AM

KENANSVILLE -- The Duplin County Board of Education will discuss school building needs on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the school administration building.

School board Chairman Doc Brinson said the board has been discussing problems of overcrowding, racial imbalance and poor academics in some schools. A plan is beginning to come together for the board members, he said, but he doubts the board will be able to make a decision without gathering more information.

"Tuesday night we'll do a little bit of sifting through the information," he said.

Parents of students in the B.F. Grady, North Duplin or James Kenan school districts have offered proposals in response to the school system and the county forming a committee to find money to build a new middle school for Warsaw and E.E. Smith students. Some Warsaw Middle School parents have said they are worried about losing their neighborhood school and the transportation problems that would result.

One of the three groups wants to merge North Duplin and James Kenan high schools; another says it wants to keep the high schools the way they are; and a third group seeks a high school for the B.F. Grady school district.

B.F. Grady School parents want a school to accommodate 1,000 children from kindergarten through eighth grade and a new high school that would house 450 students. The elementary school, which was built for 450 students, has almost 800 now and is expected to have 1,000 by 2015.

James Kenan district parents and several business owners want a consolidated high school with the North Duplin district. They say there needs to be better racial balance and better school buildings to attract people back to the district. They want the new high school to hold about 800 students.

North Duplin High parents oppose consolidation.

They say 800 students would be too many in a high school. Since 1990, they say, there's been a shift in mindset about schools, and political leaders are realizing small schools are better for the students.