Press Release: Democratic Legislators Statement on School System Compromise





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.


Nash board votes to split schools – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: What the hell? Fred Belfield this black man pushing the Robbie Davis agenda to split the schools that will affect who, black children. What is the real deal behind this? Where is the bond referendum money, so how will that benefit Edgecombe County? So they took the money and built Rocky Mount Senior High and now they will give Edgecombe County debt like we are dumb. Well I hope if this mess passes in the General Assembly that we wake up and protest spending money on the Nash County side of Rocky Mount. This is just my ignant opinion.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Friday to move forward with a split of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools along county lines.

The nonpartisan decision came at the end of a meeting of the board to discuss the results of a school funding committee meeting earlier in the day. The committee — comprised of members of the Nash board, the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners and the Rocky Mount City Council — met at the Carolinas Gateway Partnership in an effort to stave off a possible split of the school district. The talks were a failure.

“I put the best proposal forward that I could and it failed. It’s time to stop talking and get results,” Nash County board Chairman Fred Belfield said at the conclusion of the Nash meeting.

The board agreed Belfield and Commissioner Robbie Davis would meet with N.C. Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, over the weekend. Belfield will turn over his proposal to see whether any of its language can be added to the 20-plus page bill Collins has drafted to split the school district.

N.C. Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, said she will fight the bill. The N.C. General Assembly begins its short session Monday. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

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)

School Split: Nothing Pisses Me Off More Than Black Folks Whom Don’t Attend Meetings But Have The Answers

I get so sick and tired of black folks whom don’t go to meetings but get a report from someone at the meeting and then base their opinion from what that person said. That is okay until you talk to me and I tell you that oh hell no my opinion is not the same as yours so don’t go there. You see I have had an opinion of the school split way before last night so I ain’t the one.

First of all you need to be at the meetings to try to tell me what took place at the meeting and so we can have a real discussion.

I have a problem with your opinion not being based on the real issue at hand but want to make the issue be your opinion of how the people feel when the people have clearly stated at the meeting where they stand. Don’t call me talking otherwise what you feel others are saying but they didn’t say it at the meeting. But the main thing is you say they didn’t say it at the meeting. Well what they said at the meeting was keeping in line with what the actual issue at hand is. Now ain’t nobody got time for folks to attempt to make the issue what they want it to be.

Folks when I deal with issues and people I look at what the issue is and who is bringing it forth.

The issue with the school split is Robbie Davis and 3 more of the Nash County Board of Commissioners say Edgecombe County Public Schools need to pay more money and that the Rocky Mount City Council should not pay anything. Well ain’t a damn thing wrong with the school systems as it stands coming out of the lawsuit filed back in 1991. All school districts have an issue with funding for many reasons. However to make it appear that Edgecombe ain’t paying what they suppose to be paying is another issue and a lie from from I have seen and heard as it relates to the outcome of the merger back in the early 90’s. Dealing with the financial piece is one thing but how to go about it is another.

The problem here with the school split is that Robbie Davis a business and a Nash County Commissioner along with 3 more commissioners are trying to find a way to justify their mission because he but not limited to, has a problem with the black superintendent and more.

There is a hidden agenda that only a few folks knows about while folks like Roosevelt Higgs want to add his spill to the issue trying to say that the people in Rocky Mount City do not want their children to go to Edgecombe County Public Schools. Well sir that is your opinion but not the issue here. And not even totally true because some in the Rocky Mount City goes to Edgecombe County Public Schools so you don’t even know what the hell you are talking about.

Let deal with the Robbie Davis driven issue at hand that deals with the financial piece. Like I said last night and other times, this has nothing to do with academics but only finances so let’s make sure that the Davis argument is shut down so we can continue to move forward. I ain’t going to entertain anyone who wants to talk about their opinion that has nothing to do with the real issue at hand.

So final warning don’t call me nor say anything to me in person if we ain’t going to talk about the real issue at hand the financial myth brought forward by Robbie Davis.