“If we’d had an inclusive process, there could have been a viable solution.”
Currently, Buncombe recommends indoor masking as a response to COVID-19 but has instituted no legal mandate. The city of Asheville also plans to reinstate a similar requirement, while rules in other county municipalities would be left to their governing bodies.
At its meeting of Tuesday, Aug. 3, the county Board of Commissioners will vote on a more than $665,000 budget amendment to support regional vaccination efforts. The money includes a new allocation of $75,000 from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as over $590,000 in unspent funds from last fiscal year.
“It is past time to significantly update or eliminate the two-tiered enrollment system and officially recognize and figure out transportation for “out-of-district” students who live in Asheville Housing Authority projects and economically depressed areas in the city of Asheville that are locked out of the legacy district boundaries.”
The potential closure and sale of the APS campus had drawn intense community pushback since being initially recommended as a cost-saving measure by Superintendent Gene Freeman on Dec. 7.
“Concerned residents should contact the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and demand a signed memorandum of understanding with ACS that preserves all ACS buildings and pre-K classrooms before future funding is approved.”
“The path we’re on right now is a collision that puts us backwards and actually takes classrooms offline,” said Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, regarding the Asheville City Schools plan to relocate preschool classrooms from Asheville Primary School to other elementary schools and Asheville Housing Authority developments.
Gene Freeman, Asheville City Schools superintendent, gave contradictory statements regarding the potential sale of Asheville Primary School at several meetings over recent months. Xpress has also experienced delays in obtaining basic records of the school system’s discussions.
“You can’t keep doing that year in and year out. You need to keep an eye on that,” external auditor Michael Wike told the Asheville City Board of Education about the school system’s spending at a Dec. 7 work session. “What happens when you don’t have a fund balance is almost like an individual living paycheck to paycheck: You can’t plan for the future whatsoever.”
“The families, staff and supportive community of Asheville Primary School feel that the decision to sell the building at 441 Haywood Road and redistribute the programs currently housed there to other spaces is shortsighted and is being made hastily without a long-term plan for what is best for the community.”
The fundraiser for Asheville Primary School takes place March 25 at The Mothlight.
Food and gardening classes can help children learn life skills, nourish creativity and connect to the natural world. But funding for these programs can be hard to come by.
As students go back to school, construction projects will continue on some campuses of both the city and county school systems. At historic Asheville High School, a $25 million renovation project is expected to continue through May 2020.