Nash weighs leaving gateway partnership – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Nash County Board of Commissioners is considering pulling out of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership.

Commissioners are set to discuss the matter Monday morning at their regularly-scheduled monthly meeting.

An agenda item for the meeting is titled “Commissioners to Discuss the Future Relationship between Nash County and the Carolinas Gateway Partnership.”

Supplimental information includes a statement from County Manager Zee Lamb on an agenda information sheet.

“Commissioners will decide whether to continue to be a partner in the Partnership or to discontinue being a partner and take on economic development as a county department,” Lamb said. (Read more)

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Republicans take control of Nash County board – Rocky Mount Telegram

NASHVILLE — Nash County has a new chairman of the board.

Longtime Commissioner Robbie Davis was elected unanimously by the county’s seven-member board Monday to a second term as chairman. He previously served in that position from 2009-10. He was the first Republican chairman in recent history.

“There was a lot of bipartisan good will,” Davis said.

Davis was nominated for the position by Commissioner Wayne Outlaw, a Republican, with a second by outgoing Chairman Fred Belfield, a Democrat.

Outlaw was elected vice chairman with a nomination by Commissioner Lisa Barnes, a Republican, and a second by Commissioner Mary Wells, a Democrat.

Incoming Commissioner Dan Cone gives Republicans a majority on the board. Cone replaces retiring Democrat Billy Morgan. The board now sits at a four-three ratio of Republicans to Democrats. Davis, Outlaw, Barnes — along with Cone — are Republicans. Belfield, Wells and Commissioner Lou Richardson are Democrats.

As chairman, Davis said he plans to focus on two main issues.

“We need to bring jobs to Nash County,” Davis said, adding that Carolinas Gateway Partnership did an excellent job landing the CSX train-to-truck terminal, “but it’s time to turn it up.”

Davis said he also will focus on mending wounds caused by the two-year fight over funding of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

“That battle is over, but it left a lot of scars,” Davis said. “Now we need to work with the school board on capital needs.” (Read more)

Local officials applaud school bill – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: So is it really about the following COMPROMISE? “Edgecombe County is to pay a prorated share of all capital spending based on student population and will pick up the payment from Rocky Mount in four years for all operating expenses.” So they want Rocky Mount City Council out of the equation? What will the next Compromise be?

A new state law preventing a split of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools is being met with varying degrees of acceptance by local leaders who worked on the issue for years.

Nash County officials are happy with the legislation passed unanimously Wednesday by the N.C. General Assembly, while Edgecombe County officials like the big picture, but are cold on some of the details.

The law closely resembles the final deal offered by Nash County officials to the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners. Nash Commissioner Robbie Davis, who helped introduce the school funding discussion, said he is pleased with the bill. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Our View: School split stalemate goes to Raleigh – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: What I see here is just a COMPROMISE but for what? Will someone tell me why the need to do anything because the folk on Edgecombe County shops on the Nash side and they are reaping the economic benefits. But what tickles the hell out of me is the argument was that Robbie and Fred wanted Rocky Mount City to stop paying into the school system. I heard that the only reason the mess went to Raleigh was because Edgecombe agreed to 5 of the 7 items in the COMPROMISE. Again everybody I talk to says it was about COMPROMISE. Damn compromising children of Rocky Mount? So what will the next COMPROMISE be? Hell I ain’t mad just want to know the real significance of all this.

The failure of locally elected officials to negotiate a reasonable compromise over the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools district lines comes as a disappointment to all of us who had hoped for a settlement to emerge from the Twin Counties. But we’re heartened, at least, to see legislators from both sides of the county line working on a bill to be submitted to the N.C. General Assembly.

Prior to this week, it seemed that any legislation would be drafted by N.C. Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, at the request of Nash County commissioners. The Nash County board has been the instigator in the plan to split the school system if Edgecombe County did not pay more for. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Press Release: Democratic Legislators Statement on School System Compromise

 

       
   

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North Carolina General Assembly

State Legislative Building

Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

For Immediate Release – June 15, 2016

Rep. Shelly Willingham-D-Edgecombe; Rep. Bobbie Richardson, D-Franklin; Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash; Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, D-Northampton.

For more information:  Contact Rep. Shelly Willingham – 252-813-0381 or Rep. Bobbie Richardson – 919-971-0571

Nash-Edgecombe Democratic Legislators Statement on School System Compromise

On June 15, Rep. Collins in the House Rules Committee replaced Senate Bill 382, formerly a transportation bill on the ferry system, with a compromise to prevent a split of the Nash-Rocky Mount school system. After a week of deliberations, the bill will address the financial concerns of the Nash County commissioners along with a name change in 2020 and a moratorium on lawsuits by the NRMS Board.  The bill also directs the city of Rocky Mount to pay the operations gap to Nash per Edgecombe County pupil for the next four years. Edgecombe County will handle the capital gap beginning in 2016-17, and in 2020, Edgecombe County will be responsible for all costs.  In a surprise move by Collins, the bill includes a trigger provision, that would set up a process for and de-merge the NRMS if the payments are not made as scheduled. In addition, the Local Government Commission will review and certify any issues regarding failure to make payments under this new legislation.

“While we do not support the name change, lawsuit or de-merger trigger provisions, we are relieved that this compromise arrangement will preserve the Nash-Rocky Mount school system, which was our number one priority,” said N.C. Rep Bobbi Richardson, D-Franklin. “It is estimated that name change will cost over $500,000, and those funds could definitely be better used for direct educational purposes.”

In addition to the financial directives, the bill includes a moratorium to prevent a lawsuit from occurring over the next 10 years by the Nash Rocky Mount School Board against Nash County over school funding. Although a split will be averted, a school system name change, to “Nash Administrative Unit” and “Nash School Board”, omitting Rocky Mount, will occur once the city finalizes its participation in the funding.

“I am satisfied that we got the best arrangement we could get to include the financial directives that our constituents support,” acknowledges N.C. Rep. Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe. “Although I am not a proponent of the name change, the lawsuit and the de-merger trigger provisions, the preservation of the school system and the financial provisions approved by Edgecombe are the most significant aspects of this bill. Keeping the system intact is pivotal for the region, for economic development, and most importantly, for our students and families. We’re glad that we could work together as a local delegation to reach an agreement. Now, we can begin to concentrate on other issues.”

Senators Bryant and Smith-Ingram issued a joint statement:  “We appreciate the heavy lifting done by our house delegation members and all the citizens and civic and business leaders in both counties who worked to save the Nash Rocky Mount Schools and our belief in regional collaboration. Like our Democratic colleagues in the House, we are not supportive of all the provisions, and we worry that the de-merger trigger provisions have not been sufficiently reviewed or vetted by us, the school systems or others potentially affected; however, at least in a worst case scenario, de-merger will be handled by the local school boards. We strongly oppose the heavy-handed process that led to this compromise, and the unnecessary trigger provisions that go beyond any language acted on in any public meetings by the Commissioners.  Moving forward, we will remain vigilant to protect our constituents from “trigger-happy” truce breakers.” 

Nash County commissioners questioned the funding formula over a year ago, challenging the 1992 legislation which created the Nash-Rocky Mount school system, resulting in the dismissal of a desegregation lawsuit. Since 1992, Rocky Mount has provided the gap funding for Edgecombe County students to ensure the same amount of funding per pupil is provided for students in both counties.  Rep. Jeff Collins, D-Nash joined a majority of the Nash Commissioners in threatening to de-merge the system if their ever-changing demands were not met, and Democratic legislators fought along with the City and Edgecombe County and three of the Democratic Nash Commissioners to keep the focus solely on the financial issues and saving the system.

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Edgecombe nixes school deal – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: This is good to me because the whole mess makes no sense. They need to leave the whole mess alone and let the system stand as is.

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners killed a deal Tuesday to stave off a split of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

A joint committee made up of officials from Nash and Edgecombe counties developed a possible solution last week to a school funding dispute that would prevent the dissolution of the county-city school system.

Edgecombe commissioners voted 4-3 along racial lines against a compromise proposed by the Nash County Board of Commissioners. Chairman Leonard Wiggins and Commissioners Greg Hines, Viola Harris and Evelyn Powell voted against the proposal with Edgecombe Vice Chairman Johnathan Felton and Commissioners Billy Wooten and Donald Boswell voting in favor of the compromise. The deal called for Edgecombe to agree to a name change of the school system and a provision prohibiting the Nash-Rocky Mount school board from filing a funding lawsuit. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Open Letter to Edgecombe County Commissioners Pertaining To Nash-Rocky Mount And Edgecombe County Public Schools De-merger

I sure hope you my Edgecombe County Commissioners do not bow down to the Nash County Commissioners as they push the Nash-Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County Public Schools split.

It is obvious that the split is being pushed by Nash County Commissioners Robbie Davis (WM) and Fred Belfield (BM). I don’t understand how Belfield has bought into Davis mess.

It will be a sad time if you allow these 2 jokers to make you all agree to their terms when it will put a burden on Edgecombe County and also what folk don’t understand it will not be good for Nash County either.

I am so glad to see the numerous letters to the editor in the Rocky Mount Telegram whereby several folk have collectively and singularly voiced their concerns against the de-merger. For me this should be enough for Edgecombe County to not agree to the de-merger under any terms.

The main thing if I am correct is Nash County Commissioners have tried to paint a picture of why the de-merger is necessary by trying to eliminate the Rocky Mount City Council from participating in the funding process. They have also made it clear they do not want them at the table. I say it is because the Rocky Mount City Council is a black majority council and many have had a problem with that when they seen it about to happen. Well the saying is if you are not at the table you are on the menu.

I am asking my Edgecombe County Commissioners to not agree to the de-merger on any terms and simply because Nash County Commissioners have not presented a real reason why it is necessary. This has nothing to do with Educating children but more about POWER!

Thanking you in advance.

See letters: Nash-Rocky Mount School Split Mess – These Letters Speak Volume

Sincerely,

Curmilus Dancy II
The Watch Dog