Union County Group Demands Change from School Board - myfoxcarolinas.com

Union County Group Demands Change from School Board

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Citizens for Adequate Public Schools (CAPS), an advocacy group in Union County, released a statement Monday afternoon to ask for recommendations for the Union County Board of Education.

The group is in the middle of a lawsuit with Union County Public Schools and the Board of Education over the process through which a redistricting plan of thousands of students was carried out. The lawsuit cites that the redistricting plan "was conducted in a manner that appears to have been designed to exclude the They list 8 action items for the board.

Here is the press release:

"While the CAPS legal team moves through the discovery period with the current (and hopefully soon to be former) Union County Board of Education majority, we would like to put forth some common sense ideas to assist the new, incoming BOE majority. Either through election and/or recall of present sitting BOE members, we believe the seating a new BOE majority will bring a real opportunity and true partnership between our education leaders, the Board of County Commissioners, North Carolina state elected officials, the federal government and our community. So with that, CAPS is looking forward to the future!

That being said, CAPS would like to recommend the following ideas to our new incoming BOE members:

1) In an effort to help restore the public trust between the BOE and our community, CAPS will call for the new BOE majority, upon arrival, to vote on a motion that would reverse the current disastrous vote to redistrict. Cluster lines would be drawn back to 2013 while we all work towards real, long term solutions to core capacity. Our hope is that reversal will solidify high educational quality and stability for our kids, and help our local residents regain the economic damage of losing massive home value, reverse needless safety issues, stop the psychological damage done to our children and repair the division this careless act has created between all of our elected officials, the BOE and the residents of Union County. This would be a great start and immediately restore trust with the community!

2) CAPS would like to introduce a Parent Advisory Board. CAPS recommends this to be a small group composed of one parent per cluster - 9 parents overall - that would not participate in final BOE voting or have any decision making authority. However, the PAB will assist the BOE with any parental questions, fact finding, coordinate with our school PTSO’s and ensure our parent and student community will be directly involved in any major education decision moving forward.

3) The new BOE, along with our community and church leaders, and the Parent Advisory Board, MUST productively address lower performing schools with viable options. The time for talk is now over. The Parent Advisory Board group will introduce the option of International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, Magnet School options in a location centrally accessible to ALL students, and vocational class/training options that are more focused/applicable to developing relevant job skills. A separate parent group can be set up to routinely focus on these very important issues. We will not stop until our parent partners at these schools are satisfied. Finally, we will ask our local businesses to help support the John H. Crowder Service Scholarship Award to annually recognize a graduating student from each high school who exhibits an exemplary level of behavior, academic achievement and community service.

4) We will ask at least one new BOE member to serve as liaison with the Parent Advisory Board to enhance the BOE’s decision making process, while also fostering an improved relationship with the Union County Board of Commissioners. This will include significantly increase community knowledge of where and how tax money is spent in relation to the school system. We believe that having community representation is an easy win-win for both the new BOE and the Board of County Commissioners.

5) The Parent Advisory Board will help the new BOE to establish much stronger relationships and a true partnership with the Board of County Commissioners, local developers and builders and other businesses, DOT, UC Planning Board, elected officials at the state and federal level, and other government officials. The idea is to band together and help our new BOE plan for growth, and monitor the building and permit process and other issues that are relevant to our students. We will also ask these parties to provide ideas on improving our current schools, and provide possible private sector solution options to be more efficient in dealing with capacity issues. Our local businesses and residents can be a great input and problem solving resource for our BOE, and help BOE be proactive instead of reactive.

5) The Parent Advisory Board proposes to provide useful input to the BOE in solving our real, LONG TERM capacity issues. “Band aid” approaches will not work in our fast growing county. Factual studies regarding traffic, safety, and infrastructure – among other things -- would be incorporated so student capacity and safety can then be addressed with an eye toward the future!

6) The Parent Advisory Board can also help vet future BOE members due to vacancy and be a constant point of contact for our local community leaders. Also, in this day and age, establishing a much better communication apparatus between our new BOE, the Board of County Commissioners and our residents should be considered (either through electronic notification, text and/or a more user friendly website/blog). Again, we must ensure that there will never again be a lack of transparency or communication between the BOE and our community.

8) Finally, the era of name calling, disrespect and finger pointing is now over as we move towards establishing a more vibrant and friendlier relationship with the new BOE majority!

These are simple common sense approaches to our growth and communication issues. We will continue to work with local residents and new BOE members to refine and add to this list. CAPS, along with the Union County community, is ready to stand by and partner with our new BOE members!"

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