Edgecombe County Public Schools Board Meeting
Monday March 14, 2011
*If you want to get in the small room and/or to speak must sign in before 6:30
The following letter was forwarded to me and this is my response.
I was born and raised in Edgecombe County and I attended G. W. Carver Elementary School, South Edgecombe Middle School and SouthWest Edgecombe High School. I graduated in 1981. I have been actively engaged in our education system since the early 90’s and in 1993 I was called to SouthWest Edgecombe to help with a staged walkout by the Student Government Association (SGA). I was 1st Vice President of the Rocky Mount NAACP during that time. I have challenged the system (local schools and the central office) as I have served on the PTO, School Improvement Team, Edgecombe County Board of Education Advisory Committee and attending the Edgecombe County Public School Board meetings faithfully up until around May 2010. I had planned on attending the meetings beginning in January 2011. I normally set up an appointment to meet with all of the incoming superintendents one on one but I have not met with Dr. Wayne Talley yet but will very soon. I did get to meet him for the first time during the College Round Up on yesterday and I introduced myself to him.
I have been an advocate for parents, students and staff from the early 90’s. However I have had a vested interested in the system since I enrolled my first child in the system in 1997. Some told me they hated to see the day when I had to put my child in the system because they were going to catch hell.
I took my advocacy to a whole new level when my child entered into the system. I recognized and understood that since I had a child in the system I had more of an access to the system and whatever I did to make things better for my child all of the children black, brown, white and other would benefit. And they all did because I have the proof.
I had heard about Dr. Talley’s plan a couple of weeks ago and I said this guy is alright. I believe he is trying to do some things that Dr. Craig Witherspoon would have loved to put in action but he knew that he being a black man trying to change the culture of Edgecombe County Public Schools to this degree would have been too time consuming fighting the old guards. So I thank him for getting the money right because he cleaned up the funny money business along with some other things. Dr. Talley’s plan is also about dollars and sense so I want to commend him for beginning the fight with the old guards because it will definitely be a fight. The fight will be with the community I hope and not the board. But we will see will the board members be about friendship or about what is in the best interest of the children.
I want to respond to the letter that I received.
I am an engaged black male and I say that because black males/fathers are not the norm when it comes to being engaged in our local education system. I have a child in middle school and one child that is an alumni of SouthWest Edgecombe High School and is nearing the end of her 2nd year at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) majoring in political science. I have many nieces and nephews and other family members and friends and enemies that I advocate for so I respond to this letter with deep feelings. Yes I said enemies because they benefit as well.
First of all after reading Terry Smith’s column in the Friday’s Southerner my concern about Dr. Wayne Talley having a mentor, I have a difference of my previous opinion. Obviously the letter writer Kathy Winslow has a different interpretation of what our board member Evelyn Wilson stated. I didn’t try to interpret but took her quote in the the article that Dr. Talley is not strong in technology so I support him having a mentor/consultant. I know Dr. Steve Mazingo is technology savvy so I support this move 100% as it relates to the technology piece. So obviously Winslow is speaking beyond what is printed in the paper which brings me to another point. Why has Terry Smith not printed before now that Dr. Mazingo was contracted to help Dr. Talley with his technology skills.
I find the following comments in Winslow’s letter to be somewhat funny as hell. “Staff and administrators whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the restructuring have not had a chance to review the changes. Families with children in the schools and residents who care about the community have not had a chance to evaluate the proposal, learn about alternatives, and consider the impact the changes will have on education in Edgecombe County.”
I am totally pissed that Winslow have the audacity to use the word threatened. Restructuring is something that has been done and should be done on a continuous basis but here again we are talking about Edgecombe County mentality especially as it relates to our school system. I have considered the impact the elimination of these 2 jobs will have on education in Edgecombe County and it will be one of the best things that have ever happened. I say that with emphasis because I am speaking to my experience with being actively engaged with the system and I could speak to other staff and administration.
When and where do they do that at? LOL!! That is give the employees the chance to review changes? I have been working in the workforce since 1981 less than a month after I graduated and I have been employed at my current workplace for the past 24 years. I have seen restructuring take place over the years and I have never heard of those being affected having a say in the restructuring process other than being given options to take a demotion, to be fired, resign, laid off and/or to retire whichever one that is best for the place of employment. But maybe I am missing something.
I know there has been little restructuring over the years at the central office and many people have been talking about it for years. I can’t remember the community ever having a chance to evaluate such proposal from an employer. But then again I don’t know what took place in the white community over the years however I do have a good idea because I have heard how the white community meet to discuss school issues in homes and etc. however the black board members either don’t care or are just scared. I think they just don’t care and do not talk to the black community about what is going on so therefore we are always in the dark. I guess by them doing such they get to play all sides.
Winslow said don’t misunderstand her that there needs to be a way to cut the school system’s budget without harming the education system. So since neither of the 2 people in question are directly dealing with educating the children what is the damn problem? Yes it is true they have much experience in what they do but again what does that have to do with educating my child? And the main thing is the majority of restructuring comes from the top down which makes good business sense because there are more savings at the top. The top is always majority hands off.
I find the following plea from Winslon to ask the board of education to table the reorganization proposal on Monday night to be nothing more than to be about trying to save certain folks job. This means that you want to save these 2 jobs but eliminate some others who do not have anyone to write letters on their behalf and most of all they would probably be too afraid to talk to anyone unlike the 2 who we are discussing.
The problem I have with Winslow trying to take this thing to the community is the superintendent Dr. Talley is on the inside and he is looking at those who work for him and he should know know better than anyone where the waste is. He knows better than the school board and if he do not, then the board needs to eliminate his job because his role should be to manage his administration and staff. In doing so whether it was a budget crisis coming down from the State or North Carolina or not, waste should be eliminate at any given time especially duplication of jobs.
I agree with Winslow 100%, “A strong Edgecombe County Public School system is critical to the future of Tarboro and Edgecombe County.” I strongly trust that we are off to getting there with the plan from our superintendent to be presented on Monday night.
I am trying to figure out why in the hell is eliminating LeFiles position such a loss to the children? I have always seen that position as waste. I strongly feel the superintendent or the superintendent’s secretary could carry out the role in question. I have been in many meetings with her and I felt she was not needed and the superintendent and other groups could have handled what she did. Many including myself who attended these meetings felt she had a nasty attitude. So I would love to know what is it she does that is a benefit to the children?
I am trying to figure out why in the hell is eliminating Dr. VanderLinden’s position such a loss to the children? Oh well how soon we forget how she ended up at the central office anyway.
By now you should have realized that I am supporting the elimination of Diane LeFiles and Dr. Lana VanderLinden’s position.
In my closing I commend Winslow for fighting for what she believes in. I remember when she used to be on the Edgecombe County Public Schools board during the early 90’s and these same folks were in the system at that time. If I am correct she had her child in a private school but was on the ECPS board.
I challenge the black community and all interested stakeholders in Edgecombe County Public Schools System to attend the meeting on Monday evening and let your voice be heard. It is time that Edgecombe County Public Schools become more children focused verses the old guards looking out for their family friends.
Curmilus Dancy II (Butch)
Letter from Kathy Winslow
Subject: Edgecombe County Schools
Dear Friends and Residents of Tarboro & Edgecombe County who are concerned about our community,
I am writing as a long-time Tarboro resident, a parent whose children got a good education in Edgecombe County schools, and a former member of the Edgecombe County Board of Education. I have also discussed my concerns with my husband Jim who agrees wholeheartedly. If you read Terry Smith’s column in Friday’s Southerner, I am sure you share our concerns about Edgecombe County Public Schools. Dr. Wayne Talley, who has been Superintendent for just over 6 months and still needs help from a mentor to manage his duties, is proposing a complete reorganization of Central Services staff for the school system. The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a proposal this Monday. Reorganization will significantly impact the operation of the schools. Staff and administrators whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the restructuring have not had a chance to review the changes. Families with children in the schools and residents who care about the community have not had a chance to evaluate the proposal, learn about alternatives, and consider the impact the changes will have on education in Edgecombe County .
Please don’t misunderstand. I know – we all know – that the budget will have to be cut. I work at NC Wesleyan, and I know that every community and every college and university in the state is evaluating proposals to reduce budget spending. I believe it is possible, however, to find a way to cut the school system’s budget without harming the education system. I don’t believe it makes sense to eliminate some of the most experienced, knowledgeable, capable, and hard-working staff and administrators as a first step in cutting spending.
I am writing today to ask you to ask the Board of Education to TABLE the reorganization proposal on Monday. Ask them to take time to review the Superintendent’s proposal, to evaluate alternatives, to ask experienced school system administrators and staff to make recommendations, and to allow time for community comment, so that the final plan is as strong as it can be. A strong Edgecombe County Public School system is critical to the future of Tarboro and Edgecombe County .
The board meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm in the Board Rooms of the ECPS Central Office at 412 Pearl Street . The agenda for Monday’s meeting has been posted on the school system’s website; you’ll find a link under District Announcements at the bottom of the home page: http://www.ecps.us/. Time for Public Comments is one of the first items under the Open Session; comments are limited to 3 minutes and must address items on the agenda. The reorganization plan will be considered in the Open Session as Item (8.4.B) Approval of Proposed Central Services Reorganization Structure. If you want to speak about an individual staff member by name, you would address Item (9.1.3) Central Services Reorganization Structure with Identified Staff (during Closed Session).
In order to speak to express your concerns, you must sign up BEFORE 6:30 pm Monday – I don’t know whether you can go to the Central Office earlier in the day to sign up. The most important thing is to get the board to table the reorganization proposal. In addition to speaking at the meeting OR if you are not comfortable speaking in public, you may help assure a thoughtful and reasoned decision by:
Calling and emailing the board member who represents your district (or any and all board members). Contact information for the board members is available on the ECPS website at: http://www.ecps.us/index.aspx?NID=27
Writing a letter and delivering it to me or to a friend who will attend the board meeting and deliver your letter to the Board. Letters can be emailed to me at email@example.com or dropped through the mail slot in my front door at 300 E. Battle Avenue (on the corner of Battle Avenue and Saint Patrick Street ).
Making friends, coworkers, family, everyone you know aware of this meeting and the possible impact it will have on area schools.
I appreciate any help you can offer. Please let me know if you have any questions.
300 East Battle Avenue
Tarbroro, NC 27886
Confirmation: Dr. Lana VanderLinden Assoc. Superintendent and Diane LeFiles Director of Community Relations Are In Dr. Talley Superintendent’s Plan To Eliminate Their Jobs
Dr. Wayne Talley