I’m calling bull on the public school systems

Forgive the vernacular.

I’m sure there’s a way I could write this more eloquently but sometimes words just escape you, especially when you’re dealing with failing public school systems.

Did you by any chance hear about Craven County Schools’ last-minute meeting this week in order for the board to huddle with attorneys for the 13th time and probably 30th hour this year?

No, you probably did not.

But I bet through Craven County Schools’ Facebook page, you found out who was named the Principal of the Year, you probably even know who won Friday’s football game – all through social media.

Social media, such as Facebook, which Craven County Schools loves to turn to for the important things, i.e. what officials want the public to know, can be a great tool to educate the public.

But, again, did you hear about that special called board meeting through social media or even the School Board’s own website? No.

You can imagine why those items were never publicly posted. Special meetings are called for few purposes, none of which include public input.

However, if you check out Craven County Schools’ Facebook page, you’ll see a call to citizens to raise up arms against HB 539. You know the bill – the one that actually treats public charter schools like they are you know, public.

In fact, the school system rallied its followers with the following cry for help: “Help keep local funding intended for public schools in public schools.”

So, is this what our public officials should be doing during work hours? Fighting for a political cause and then encouraging citizens to fight for that cause as well?

This is nothing new. I’ll never forget a call going out by Pamlico County Schools on its AwareNow alert system alarming parents that Arapahoe Charter School would soon be taking funding away from the public school by petitioning the N.C. Department of Public Instruction for the chance to educate high school students.

It’s a never-ending cycle. Public schools across the state, not just in the eastern part, complain.

Attend just one of their meetings and you’ll hear at least one board member whine about funding.

But if you do a little research by reading the full board meeting’s agenda, all the financial information the district wants you to remain ignorant about suddenly appears.

You’ll learn of carry-overs in funding from previous years. Yes, the districts receive money for at-risk children and those with special needs. But guess what? If it’s not used, it either goes back to the funding source or it carries over to the next year.

I will let you take all that in. I know it is breaking news that a public school district could be hiding public information.

It shocks me. Every. Single. Day.

Because that’s how entangled my interactions are with local school districts.

Remember when the Craven County Board of Education begged the Board of Commissioners for funding at the absolute last-minute for this fiscal year, and commissioners relented and gave additional money to the district?

Well, guess what? Somehow, the school district miraculously ended the year by spending less in capital funds than requested and given by commissioners. One would think that money would go back to the Board of Commissioners, thereby, going back to taxpayers.

But again, one would have to believe the school system operated on ethical principles. Someone should hold the School Board accountable.

So, I’m tossing the ball to the citizens who care and to the commissioners elected to represent the citizens.

Someone has to hold local school districts accountable. It clearly isn’t being done by the state.

So, to the Board of Education and Craven County Board of Commissioners, what’s your next move?

I’ll be watching.

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