Principals oppose moving graduations – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: For me the following is a bunch of b.s. Speaking only for me I would not have cared if I just received my diploma in the mail. I never liked graduations however I have seen how others enjoy that moment. Now from my perspective every year I see students trying to get tickets to accommodate more members of their family at the graduation. If a student has a moma and a dad be it by birth or by whatever that they want to attend that is 2 tickets. If the student has 2 sets of living grandparents that is 4 more tickets. If the student has a couple of brothers and sisters that they want to attend say 2 more tickets and then if they have that favorite aunt or uncle they want to attend that is 2 more tickets. If that student has a boyfriend or girlfriend that they want to attend that is 1 more ticket. Wow do the math. But I don’t think this is not reasonable since if a student is excited about his or her graduation then hell I would think they would want all of the above present. But then again this is just my ignant opinion and nobody else. I have been volunteering my services videoing and taking photos at my high school graduations over the years and posting them on YouTube. However every year I have family and friends that graduate. Last year had a niece that I had forgot all about attended the school.

The Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education heard this week from high school principals about the question of whether graduation ceremonies should be moved to the Rocky Mount Event Center to allow more people to attend — and the answer was a resounding “no.”

Dr. Mark Cockrell, chief academic officer for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, presented the information to school board members to consider during a work session before the regular school board meeting on Monday.

“At various times, discussion has been held about the issue of graduation venues and the board has asked for additional information and high school principal feedback so I am bringing that to you for your ongoing consideration of whether to continue to have graduations held in the traditional settings or to move them to one site,” Cockrell said.

Each of the school board members were presented with a letter from the high school principals in the district.

The letter said: (Read more)

Schools put on new path – Rocky Mount Telegram (So Why Is Robbie Davis Nash County Commissioner The Spokesperson?)

The Political Agitator’s response: I find it interesting Robbie Davis make such comments saying he think it was the right move for the district and it seems like a good decision. Based on what sir? I hate when folk give statements with no facts to back up what they say. Hell Robbie ran former Black Superintendent Anthony Jackson out of town because he challenged his ass about some work he did at a school. Now I don’t know all of the details why he left but I do know Jackson did that. Wow! Ain’t that something allowing someone to speak about the Superintendent when he could challenge whoever this is. A former member of the school board, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the way Jefferies resigned without receiving additional payments is telling. My ignant ass would say that this is a Caucasian board member because I have never heard a Black person use the term telling. Wendy Wilson tickles me because they have been wanting to make Dr. Mark Cockrell the Superintendent for quite some time. But folk need to really check him out. I remember him from Edgecombe County Public Schools. Damn since Robbie Davis is not on the School Board why in the hell is he the spokesperson? Damn dude got issues with the Rocky Mount City Council, Edgecombe County Public Schools and the Edgecombe County Commissioners. Interesting they are all a Black Majority boards. Oh Race ain’t got nothing to do with nothing.

Several local leaders have said Shelton Jefferies’ resignation as superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools should bode well for the future of the school district.

Nash County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robbie Davis said he feels that Jefferies’ resignation was the right move for the school district.

“The board of commissioners is not involved in the process of choosing a school superintendent or overseeing the kind of job he does,” he said. “But this seems like a good decision. We are pleased that the decision to accept his resignation was unanimous this time because it wasn’t last time. I think that will help in the transition and the decisions the board makes for the school district in the future.”

A former member of the school board, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the way Jefferies resigned without receiving additional payments is telling. Under the terms of Jefferies’ original contract, if the school board unilaterally decided to let him go without cause, they would have had to pay his salary for the next 12 months.

“I suspect the board told Jefferies it believed it had cause for termination but that it would allow him to resign if he would agree not to seek the severance payment,” he said. “His choices were to accept the offer to allow him to resign or refuse to give up the payout, face termination, fight the termination and try to prove at the hearing that there were not valid grounds for his termination. He would do this only if he believed he would win.” (Read more)

Teacher gets deal in assault – Rocky Mount Telegram

A former Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools teacher has entered into an agreement to avoid prosecution in a case in which she’s accused of assaulting a middle-school student.

Jamie Dunn, 35, of Spring Hope, has been placed on unsupervised probation for six months and her case will be dismissed if she completes the following steps: 24 hours of community service, 90 days of supervised probation, an anger management course, and she is to stay away from the student and her family, according to court documents.

Dunn’s accused of using a closed fist to hit a 15-year-old female student on the arm April 30 at Rocky Mount Middle School, according to Dunn’s arrest warrant. The incident occurred in Dunn’s classroom. (Read more)

School board elects new leaders – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: Wow! Interesting! The voting shows there are changes going on amongst the board that used to didn’t vote together.

NASHVILLE — Ann Edge, the former vice chairwoman of the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education, now leads the school board.

The move came at the school board meeting on Thursday night. Each January, the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education elects school board leaders for the year, according to board policy. At Monday night’s meeting, school board member Wayne Doll nominated Wendy Wilson, who served as chairwoman during 2017, to serve again.

“Ms. Wilson has done an excellent job as chairman, and I feel that should continue,” Doll said.

However, school board member LaShawnda Washington proposed that Edge should become chairwoman. The matter came to a vote and Edge won the position by a vote of 7 to 4, with school board members Wayne Doll, Franklin Lamm, Ricky Jenkins and Wilson herself voting for Wilson and the other board members supporting Edge. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Boards argue about school construction – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: Wow no comments from the racist folk who comment on everything that goes on with the Rocky Mount City Council. Oh but this involves Robbie Davis who has been outspoken against the Rocky Mount City Council.

After nearly two hours of cordial conversations about event and programs affecting the school district Thursday night, Nash County commissioners and the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education held a lengthy, heated discussion about the construction of the Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School on the campus of Nash Community College.

The high school, which now meets in mobile units on the college campus, is slated to move into Building C on the college campus once the college’s new cosmetology building is completed and renovations to Building C can be accomplished. Nash County commissioners have already set aside $750,000 in funding for those renovations, Robbie Davis, chairman of the Nash County Commissioners told members of the two bodies at the joint meeting. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Some Nash Rocky Mount schools open Monday – Rocky Mount Telegram

By Amelia Harper
Staff Writer

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools and Rocky Mount Preparatory School will re-open Monday after a week of closures, but Edgecombe County Schools may not re-open for awhile as one school is flooded and another is surrounded by floodwater. “Princeville Elementary School is flooded at this point and will have to be evaluated by FEMA before we can make any decisions as to when we can get back in,” said Susan Hoke, communications coordinator for Edgecombe County Public Schools.

“In the meantime, Superintendent (John) Farrelly is working on a plan for where to send Princeville Elementary students.” Hoke also said that W.A. Patillo Middle School is surrounded by floodwater. “As far as we know, the school is not flooded, but no one can get to it right now,” Hoke said. Hoke said that no school closures for Monday had been announced, but an announcement regarding school attendance would be issued this afternoon. The situation in Edgecombe County is further complicated by the fact that both Tarboro High School and Martin Millennium Academy still are being used as Red Cross emergency shelters for displaced residents.

The shelter at Martin Millennium Academy had been closed but was reopened Wednesday to help deal with overflow from other area shelters. The missing class time may not cause as many make-up days as it would have in the past. Vanessa Jeter, communications director for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said schools have increased flexibility under the state’s new calendar law and should be able to deal with the additional school closure time without resorting to many make-up days. That decision is left to each school system.

“The new calendar law requires schools to meet 185 days or 1,025 hours during the academic year. Under this law, a school system could actually meet about 170 days for six hours each day and still fulfill the state requirements,” Jeter said. Jeter also said the N.C. General Assembly could have the option of waiving some of the required attendance days when it meets for its long session in January. “It is really too early for school systems to need extra days off at this point,” Jeter said. “We will have to see how the winter goes.”

Though Edgecombe County Public Schools will be closed on Monday, the school board will meet on Monday night at 6:30 at the Central Office location on Pearl Street. This meeting was rescheduled from October 10, when it originally was slated. North East Carolina Prep and Edgecombe Community College have not announced closures for Monday as of press time, though floodwaters linger through much of the area. For updated information on school closures, go to rockymounttelegram.com.

Filing opens for school board seats – Rocky Mount Telegram

Filing to run for a seat on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education opens at noon today.

The filing period will run through Aug. 5.

Six seats on the board will be up for grabs during the Nov. 8 General Election.

Seats in Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 11 are up for election. (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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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 

 

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

The whole mess about this school split is just ignant. Mess need to be put to an end! Do you see Nash County going bankrupt or for the most part struggling economically?

The problem is: Politics – I Refuse To Play It Safe Rocky Mount School Split Who Is Behind It?


Click on links to read letters you will be glad that you did.

Nash Rocky Mount Schools Split Controversy: Letter to Editor by Pastor James D. Gilliard

Letter to the Editor: Progress on school system is encouraging; press on to find solution –– As the new plant manager at Cummins here in Rocky Mount, I am deeply concerned about the future of our local school corporation. JOHN JUDD Rocky Mount

Letter to the Editor: Don’t let divisiveness over schools fester in Rocky Mount community.

Letter to the Editor: Why push for schools split against wishes of city, mayor and board?

Letter to the Editor: Commissioners should reconsider schools split plan

Letter to the Editor: Business leaders urge commissioners to reconsider school split plan

Letter to the Editor: Nash commissioners should learn the value of compromise

Letter to the Editor: City residents aren’t overburdened by funding Edgecombe schools

Nash Rocky Mount Schools Split Controversy: Letter to Editor by Pastor James D. Gilliard

The Watch Dog: agree totally with this letter. Fabuloustastic!

I am writing to express an independent, informational, and intellectual view of the
current threat to the Nash Rocky Mount Public School system. As a politically
unaffiliated, bi-racial pastor to over 3,000 people (including 1,100 K-12 children
active in Nash Rocky Mount Public Schools), I am quite vested in this issue. As is the
case with most political decisions, it is easy for the emotion of any subject to veer us
away from sound decisions that are in the best interest of all involved.

Taxes and The Common Good
Everyday as Americans and North Carolinians, our property, sales and utility taxes
are used to fund programs, services, institutions, and infrastructure that we either
benefit from directly or indirectly. Nash County residents may not directly benefit
from the funding formula that supplements the education of children living in
Edgecombe County, but do benefit indirectly as there is a link between education
and job creation for a region.
• I have yet to make a call to 911 or to use ambulance services since I have
lived here, as I am certain many of you reading this also have not, yet millions
of tax dollars are earmarked for these vital emergency services.
• Most of my books are electronic, so I never go to the public library, yet taxes
are used for this critical public institution.
• There are many residents of Nash County who have never used the highways
or buildings their taxes help build.
• There are retirees who have never had a child in the school system, yet a
portion of their taxes and utilities are used to supplement the funding of our
school system.

I doubt the Nash County Commissioners who are aggressively asking for a “fairness
of funding” want to establish a precedent of an “al-a-carte” taxation system where
we all get to direct our taxes only to the services from which we directly benefit and
away from those which we indirectly benefit.
It seems that a reminder of our origin as a nation is appropriate. The manifesto on
American Capitalism is Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, where he explained
that human involvement in economics is to “advance the interests of the society.” To
follow this new ideology being espoused by the Nash County Commissioners would
mean the GI Bill that enabled 10 million Americans to receive housing and education
benefits would have never been funded. Anything that is good and necessary for a
civilized society to thrive, like public education, is good for us all.

Collateral Damage
The removal of 1,800 children from the Nash Rocky Mount Public School system has
a potential consequence for which none of us, particularly the Nash County
Commissioners, are prepared. Eighteen hundred children equates to 12.5% of the
current NRMPS system. Any businessperson will tell you that reducing any
institutional capacity by 12.5% results in a ripple effect and like throwing a pebble
in the water you never know how many ripples will be created. Here are some
potential ripples:
Reduction of Title I, II, and III Federal Funding. It has been wrongly
communicated by the Nash County Commissioners that “the funding will
follow the students.” This is only partially true. The funding is both volume
and percent weighted. Funding will follow, but it will be much smaller
funding. There will also be a delay in this smaller funding as it is awarded in
blocks of 24 – 30 months, so services will need to be offered to children
without any funding being immediately available. This funding effects direct
services of children as well as professional development of teachers. The
anticipated loss to the remaining NRMPS system could be as high as $10
million annually. This is a classic example of voting against one’s own
interests as all the remaining children will live in Nash County and this will
create a net loss to the very system they claim to represent.
Loss of Existing Jobs. Reducing the capacity of NRMPS will require reorganization
and the inevitable loss of jobs to teachers and support staff. In
laymen’s terms, every 10 students create a job. The simple math of the
impending legislation by Representative Jeff Collins (at the request of the
Nash County Commissioners) could easily result in the loss of 180 jobs. It
seems our elected officials could better use their time creating jobs and not
removing jobs. The argument that those teachers would simply move to the
Edgecombe County School System is implausible as there are still over 50
licensed teacher vacancies within that system and for many teachers living in
Spring Hope, Middlesex, and Bailey, it would be just as close to drive to a
school in Wake County as it would some schools within Edgecombe County.
Loss of Support to Teachers and Staff. Aside from being a pastor I do not
know of a more difficult profession than teaching. We as a community should
be actively advocating for our teachers in the classroom and the principals
and staff that support this vital public institution. Instead, our
Commissioners are deliberately creating an environment that is filled with
contention and division rather than support and encouragement. Everyone
cares about job security and high morale and our teachers deserve no less.
Loss of New Jobs. Education along with Transportation, Health, Leisure,
Quality of Life, Taxes, and Housing remain major recruitment tools for new
companies and emerging economies. Dismantling our school system will
greatly harm our efforts in attracting new companies and in establishing the
“twin counties” as a “bedroom” community for those working in Raleigh,
Durham, and Chapel Hill. This inability to bring new companies and firms to
our community will hinder our ability to expand our tax base and to produce
an even greater economic impact to our region.
Re-classification of Athletic Programs. Rocky Mount Senior High alone
will likely lose 400-450 students. This loss to the ADM (Average Daily
Membership) will result in less competitive athletics and a loss of college
scholarships for countless young people for whom sports remain a viable
opportunity for a secure future due to a potential change in division status.
School Closing. There has been no study conducted by the Nash County
Commissioners ensuring there would be no school closings as elected
officials are not generally trained in the logistics and technicalities in the
actual running of a school system. Conventional wisdom at least forces us to
consider that by reducing the NRMPS by 1,800 students, it may not be
financially feasible to continue operations at the same level. This is
particularly the case since the NRMPS system is experiencing a five-year
decline in enrollment with a proven history that reduced capacity results in
school closings. An educated guess based upon school size and location
would deduce that Northern Nash High School could possibly close due to
this legislation.
The Children. It is said that often we leave the best for last. Who is
advocating for our children? Yes, as North Carolinians, ALL the children are
OUR children. We are a community. We are a region. When I moved here
from Philadelphia 11 years ago, I was introduced to the “twin counties.”
What a way to treat your twin! 1,800 children moving out of NRMPS is more
children than Camden, Gates, Clay, Swain, and Washington County Schools
have enrollment. This is equivalent to an entirely new and different school
system being created with no plan, no structure, and no infrastructure. It is
setting ALL of OUR kids up to fail as the remaining NRMPS kids will be faced
with the sobering reality that it was their parents who stripped down the
ability of the NRMPS system to meet the categorical needs of the children in
programs like IB, AP, AIG and ESL. The education of our children should be a
collective concern. We must endeavor to provide every child in our region
and our state with every opportunity to advance and to actively contribute
back to society.

I invite all of us to use our heart and our brain as we make decisions. My heart is for
ALL of our children and my brain tells me the loss of 180 jobs, the net loss of
millions of dollars to our school system, the potential closing of a school, and the
loss of college athletic scholarships is hardly worth the savings we as Nash County
residents will realize. It is my hope an agreement will be reached but despite the
outcome, we should all agree that no group of people should be allowed to play
politics with our children.

James D. Gailliard
Nash County Resident
Pastor, Word Tabernacle Church

School funding should be solved locally – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: I see Robbie Davis is still at it. Well will have to just wait it out and see how this unfold.

Republican Nash County Commissioners Robbie Davis and Wayne Outlaw reiterated their determination last week to revamp the financing formula for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools or split the district along county lines.

During the Nash County Republican Party’s GOP Aware meeting at party headquarters in the Westridge Shopping Center, Davis said he expects the issue to be brought up before the N.C. General Assembly after the legislature convenes this spring. N.C. Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, had planned to introduce legislation calling for a referendum on whether to divide the school district along county lines toward the end of last year’s marathon legislative session but ran out of time.

Collins told the Telegram in October that he planned to introduce the legislation in this year’s session, which begins in April. (Source: Read more)

Referendum proposed for schools split – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: Sources say that Robbie Davis has an issue with the Rocky Mount City Council especially Councilman Andre Knight so this is why he is pushing this so hard. This is what white privilege is all about a wealthy businessman that has an issue with a majority black city council. There were a couple of whites who said that if the council became a black majority that that is all they would have because they (the whites) had the money. Well so glad this council has been working together trying to make Rocky Mount a better place to live, work and play. Oh we know what happened to the bond referendum Nash Commissioners got the money from Edgecombe County and little to no money were spent on the schools on the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount.

Local and state officials want to see the proposed split of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools put up for a referendum vote.

“Let the people in the school district decide,” Nash County Commissioner Robbie Davis said. “If they say they want to keep things like they are then we as commissioners should get our nose out of it.”

All students living in Rocky Mount attend Nash-Rocky Mount schools whether they live in Nash or Edgecombe counties, except students who live in areas of the city expanded into Edgecombe after the district was created.

Nash commissioners recently voted to divide the school district along county lines, which would send about 2,000 students from the Edgecombe side of Rocky Mount to Edgecombe County Public Schools. (Source: Read more)