02/07/12 — Radford defends work at Goldsboro High School

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Radford defends work at Goldsboro High School

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 7, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne County Board of Education Chairman Eddie Radford admits he is protective of Goldsboro High School, since he is not only a graduate of the school but formerly served as an administrator there.

He knows how hard staff and students there are working, he said at Monday night's school board meeting.

So he bristled when he read recent comments in the newspaper by Goldsboro Mayor Al King suggesting the school board is oblivious to the perception problem at GHS.

"For some reason the Board of Education just doesn't understand how serious the Goldsboro High issue is and how it impacts Wayne County, Goldsboro, this whole region, I don't really think they get it. It's the most difficult issue facing us today as far as BRAC," the mayor said last month after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and military personnel again debated Seymour Johnson's future in terms of Base Realignment and Closure.

That is patently untrue, Radford said at the board meeting.

"I always try to make my comments as positive as I can, so I don't want my comments to be taken out of context," Radford said. "We certainly are aware of Goldsboro High School and the seriousness that it may have on the base."

There have been "drastic changes" made at the school in the last few years, Radford said, including test score rankings that have made "the most significant leaps of any school in the county."

The graduation rate, he said, has risen from 61.5 percent in 2005 to 67.7 percent.

"It's not where we want it, but it's getting better," he said.

Radford said he believes he spoke for the board in saying it supports the teachers and administration at the school, and hopes students there also know they are supported.

"Having worked there with those kids, I know what some of them go through," Radford said. "I want this to be positive. I'm not out there trying to stir up anything.

"The city council is trying to revitalize the downtown. They haven't done it in a year."

Such major efforts take time, he said, and that will be the case regarding the high school, he added. But school officials are putting every effort into making GHS as successful as it can be, he said.

"We're going to give them all the work we can," he said.

In other business, the board heard a status report on the construction and renovation projects under way at Norwayne and Eastern Wayne middle schools.

Roger Ferguson of R.N. Rouse said the projects are about 20 percent complete, with "better than usual" weather allowing them to progress quickly. Target date for completion is spring 2013.

Underground work, including drainage is about 50 percent complete, he said, and the public will soon see steel structures popping up on the landscape at the two schools.

"We continue to meet monthly with the school operations group," he said. "We're happy to be involved in this project."