I enthusiastically support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in our schools, but there are many issues with putting it in the location recommended by the Buncombe County school board.
The school will serve only 6 percent (400) of our high school students. Why not build STEM Learning Centers in our six comprehensive high schools? Can’t the school board maximize the dollars better to reach more students?
No other options were researched. Could we repurpose an under-enrolled school? We have excess capacity (more than 5,000 empty seats) in our schools and a five-year decline in enrollment. Why not put it in a nearby college campus as other school districts do? A Science and Math School satellite has been mentioned, but where is the follow through? What about virtual classrooms?
The current plan doesn't include music, arts or athletics. The program has four pathways: pre-engineering, computer science, food science/entry level food service certification and bio-technical/environmental science. We already offer some STEM classes in all of our high schools. Let's add Pre-Engineering Project Lead the Way classes which are already in our middle schools.
— Patsy Wright Gardin