ROCKY MOUNT —
With the announcement of the new charter school opening in Tarboro this fall, Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS) could lose administrators, teachers, students and money.
After about one year of lobbying, the North East Carolina Prep School (NECP) is scheduled to open at an as-yet-undetermined location Aug. 1. The school received state approval a week ago.
NECP Executive Director John Westberg, a former principal at SouthWest Edgecombe who was fired by ECPS. led the charge to open the school. Westberg said he believes the opening of the charter school will not instantly affect ECPS.
"We don't feel, at least for the first year, it will impact the public school greatly," he said. "What we found in our research is that there are roughly 10,000 school age children in the county and only 7,200 go to school here. So, a lot of the students are being home-schooled or going to private school in other counties or other parts of the state. We would like to capture some of that population and bring them back to Edgecombe County."
Del Burns, interim ECPS superintendent, would not say whether or not his district would do anything different to either maintain or try to increase enrollment at the public schools.
"We are always striving to improve Edgecombe County Public Schools to prepare our students for the future and ensure that our teachers are using the most innovative methods for 21st Century learning and we will continue to do so," Burns said.
ECPS board chair Ann Kent echoed Burn's sentiments.
"The mission of Edgecombe County Public School have not changed," she said. "Our job is to educate all the children in Edgecombe County to the best of our ability."
ECPS's current enrollment is 7,133 students, which is up 45 when compared to the same time last year. Neither number includes pre-K.
The state pays $6,000 for each student attending either a public or charter school and the loss or gain of students could affect the amount of teachers required to meet the state’s educational requirements.
"Our ADM (average daily membership) does drive our state allotment for teaching positions both up and down, so any shifts in enrollment will affect our teaching numbers, either increasing or decreasing them," Burns said.
For the first year, NECP's projected student enrollment 380. That projection includes 60 kindergartners, 20 students each in the first through fifth grades, 120 sixth graders and 50 students in both the seventh and eight grades.
The state required NECP to provided their estimated enrollment data. While those minimums don’t have to be met, any enrollment in excess will necessitate a lottery to assure fair and equal access to successful applicants.
While NECP is now accepting applications for students, the process of hiring faculty and staff could be months away.
"We're going to get those (enrollment) numbers before we do any type of hiring or interviewing," Westberg said. "We have time. We have a number of people who are interested in working for us."
As NECP works towards a plans to hire teachers and select a site for its new school, a debate continues as to whether or not the charter will be good or bad for the county.
"I'm trying to get someone to convince me that it is a bad idea," NECP Chairman Taro Knight, a graduate of an ECPS (Tarboro High) school, said. "If I thought that this charter school would be detrimental to our public school, I would be the first one out. I've tried to get an argument against it and nobody can present a good one based on facts. It (NECP) is good for the county, it gives people another choice."
Edgecombe County Commissioner Viola Harris is also a graduate of an ECPS (North Edgecombe). While she is not totally against charter schools, her support lies elsewhere.
"I support public schools," she said. "I hate to see public schools dollars taken from them. If charter schools had to abide by the same rules that public schools do, then I would not have that problem. And I'm concerned at how diversified the (charter) school will be."
An application session for NECP will be held from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the Edgecombe Library. Officials will be available to answer questions and concerns.
ROCKY MOUNT —
Tarboro officer Janil Baez stands outside the police department during a recent photo shoot for The Daily Southerner. Baez is the first female officer at the department since the 1990’s.
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There's something noticeably different about Tarboro Police Department's newest officer. At first sight, one will notice the voice, which is softer, and the hair, which is much longer than traditional officers'. The new officer is a female — Janil Baez. The 21-year-old Tarboro High School graduate is the department's first female officer since the 1990's.
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Erin Swanson, current principal of Stocks Elementary School, will be the new principal at Edgecombe County’s new K-8 global school – Martin Millennium Academy. The Edgecombe County Board of Education approved Swanson for the position during closed session at its Monday evening meeting.
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Baseball fans got their monies worth Wednesday night at Municipal Stadium. They were able to see a heated rivalry between the Tarboro Vikings and SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars. Fans watched the two teams battle it out for 10 innings and also watched two pitches dual it out against each another.
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
On July 28, 911 was called because my husband had a bad headache. I was transferred to communications in Edgecombe County, where I spoke to a female operator. I informed her I needed Rescue because my husband had a bad headache and gave her our address and telephone number.
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Spaghetti dinner to raise money for animal welfare organization
A spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Calvary Episcopal Church Memorial Hall will raise money for a local animal welfare organization – Tarboro Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) and Feline Friends.
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Culinary Creations by (and for) Families
Encouraging kids to get creative in the kitchen is a fun way to make great memories, meals and moments together. And for more than 10 years, Jif(r) has inspired parents to creatively collaborate with their kids in the Jif Most Creative Sandwich Contest(tm) for the chance to win a $25,000 college fund. Last year's top entries ranged from a sweet and spicy sandwich to satisfying snacks and dreamy desserts. Inspire your family with these delicious recipes or check out www.jif.com for even more creative options.
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The Global Education Spring Symposium on the Rocky Mount campus of Edgecombe Community College begin at 2 p.m. March 13 and 8 a.m. March 14 in the auditorium. Keynote address at 3:30 p.m. March 13 by Marva Scott, director of Edgecombe County Social Services. Activities are free and open to the public. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 823-5166, ext. 347.
A one day class on researching historic property from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A $70 fee will be charged. Contact 823-5166 for more information.
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