• 1:45 pm Library holiday hours in observance of Memorial Day
  • 1:31 pm Smithfield receives a Rising Steward Award
  • 1:15 pm Baldwin Branch Presents Clothes Closet and Food Pantry
  • 12:45 pm Nine N.C. Airports Receive Funds for Safety, Development Projects
  • 12:36 pm CresCom Bank Welcomes New Team Members

BladenCountySchoollogoMany of you are wondering what happens next with the school consolidation issue following the presentation of a 109 page report last week by Dr. Ken Phelps with the NC Department of Public Instruction.

Bladen County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor said, “The board will take that information (in the NC DPI report) and other additional information they have and review it. They have already committed to not do any consolidating for the 2016-17 school year.”

The NC DPI report recommended closing three schools though the report only looked at facilities needs. Two of the schools Dr. Phelps addressed during the meeting were Tar Heel Middle School which he said had more technical needs and Clarkton School of Discovery which he said had more electrical issues. The other two schools recommended for closure in the report are Plain View Primary School and Booker T. Washington School.

The school system has an enrollment of 4,700 students in grades K-12 and a pre-K enrollment of about 210 students.

Dr. Taylor said now the board will have to weigh the information they have received and other additional information they wish to review and decide how they wish to proceed. Dr. Taylor said the board has several possible options including but no limited to holding a forum to receive public comments, continuing with the plan as presented, or creating a completely new plan.

The board did not take a vote on the report that Dr. Phelps presented last week, according to Dr. Taylor. He said the report was presented as information and the board has not had any further discussions regarding what is contained in the report.

“The board has heard the exact same thing that everyone else has heard,” said Dr. Taylor.

He added the board wants the public to be as involved in the decision making process as possible. “They (The Board of Education) recognize that closing schools is going to be difficult,” said Dr. Taylor.

He said the last large scale building phase for schools in Bladen County was in the 1950s. Dr. Taylor said the county is now at a point where they are approaching the need for another building phase for the school system.

Dr. Taylor said that should a consolidation take place, the board will need to determine what to do with the buildings. In the meantime, the buildings must be maintained until the board reaches a decision on their future use.