02/15/05 — North Duplin parents upset by closing plan

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North Duplin parents upset by closing plan

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 15, 2005 2:12 PM

CALYPSO -- Parents in the North Duplin High School attendance area are concerned about plans to close the school.

The North Duplin High School Parent Advisory Council met recently to discuss three school building plans being considered by the county Board of Education, all of which would do away with the school.

Consultants presented the plans to the school board in January.

Henry Carr, the chairman of the council, said he attended the meeting at which the plans were described but said he did not understand the consultants' reasoning.

"There is tension between the communities because of this study," Carr said. "Where did these people get their directions from? I don't know who got to them and why they are so determined to shut down North Duplin. Why is there such an attitude to destroy the quality of life in the northern end of the county? Nothing good comes out of Kenansville for the northern end of the county. We're being punished for having academic excellence and parental support."

Carr said four people from the North Duplin area were members of a committee working with the consultants but that their proposals were not given enough consideration.

"They volunteered their time for a year to help find a solution," Carr said. "Their time was wasted."

Carr said the parents of North Duplin students believe the proposals stem from problems with the middle school in Warsaw. Business owners there do not want the school there, he said, and want the northern end of the county to absorb them.

"It's like a shell game," Carr said. "North Duplin's there, and then it's not. When you take a school out of a community, it takes the heart out of the community."

The Board of Education had a good building plan in place, Carr said, but board members have allowed interests other than academics to influence them.

"A few businessmen came to the board, and now, it's a big toss-up," Carr said. "It bothers me that it was initiated for economic reasons.

"There is no need for us to get involved in somebody else's economic problems and bus kids around helter skelter to help business men in Warsaw."

Carr said some children in the East Duplin High School district have to travel more than 22 miles to get to class, he said. The three proposed plans will require other districts to do the same, he said.

Already, Carr said, he has been told that there are children in the Chinquapin area who have to get on a bus at 5:45 a.m. in order to go to East Duplin High School.

"That to me is unacceptable," he said. "I don't see how that has lasted as long as it has. They deserve a community school, too."