With James Lee opting out mid-term to take a job in another state, Asheville City Council will soon select at least one new member to serve on a board that will be compelled to turn the ship around. Two other members, Martha Geitner and board Chair Shaunda Sandford, are completing their first terms on the board and seeking reappointment. Meanwhile, in a process that will play out in the coming weeks, 11 other community members have applied to be appointed.
“I think you can see by the turnout here, the phone calls to City Council, our emails, our response, that Vance in general — I don’t speak for every parent here or every student — does not feel like this is a win-win,” said Vance parent Marissa Brooks at the Feb. 27 meeting.
“Certainly teacher bias in disciplinary actions should be mitigated, but I think we all know that the economic and social disparities between white and black families are closer to the root cause of these issues.”
“As parents, community members and taxpayers, we insist that our concerns about this project be heard and respected.”
Statistics show that American schools throw away more than $1 billion worth of food every year. Asheville-area schools and organizations are taking some steps toward alleviating the problem.
“If you want to make a difference in a child’s life and are looking for a way to give back, please consider becoming a volunteer tutor with Read to Succeed.”
Since leaving her previous role as Charlotte’s assistant city manager to take the Asheville job in December, Campbell said, she has focused on meeting as many community stakeholders as possible. Those discussions, she explained, have led to a slate of priorities with the common theme of making the city “the best partner that we can be.”
“Our data tells us that we are doing a disservice to our black students, and you can’t say it any plainer than that,” said Shaunda Sandford, chair of the Asheville City Board of Education.
“As diverse as we are, let us seek harmony and unity and prove that America is better than our fear and division by spreading the seeds of compassion and justice within us all.”
“As we talked with people in community forums, we heard about places and events that are bringing people together, from public libraries to town commons to Friday night football games, and people wondered whether we could do more to build off those gathering places.”
Area school districts checked their state report cards, which indicated moderate gains at many local public schools. Henderson County Public Schools launched a virtual public school with district teachers to expand educational offerings and settings for any high school student in the system.
Thanks to a second round of state grant funding announced in early August, area students will have access to an expanded series of coding programs and courses at the high school and middle school levels. Local employers and economic development boosters say tech skills are vital to securing good jobs now and in the future.
Commissioners will vote Tuesday, Sept. 4, whether to commit to a forensic audit of Buncombe County finances.
Shortly before greeting students for the start of the 2018-19 school year, a small group of local educators rallied at the Buncombe County Courthouse on Aug. 24, pressing for more investment in public education. The Asheville demonstration was one of six held across the state.
“Of particular interest is the surprise that the Buncombe school system is ahead of the Asheville system in sex ed, despite Asheville not having viable fundamentalist opposition, unlike in Buncombe.”
“The Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools policy codes state that e-cigarettes are prohibited within schools and consequences may include restorative justice programs, but these programs are extremely vague, and there have been no signs of follow-through.”
As of June 11, Buncombe County has $458.5 million in debt. Over half of that debt balance ― $270 million ― has paid for facilities for A-B Tech and the county’s two public school systems, the Asheville City and Buncombe County schools.
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will hold two public hearings at its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 5.
Tuesday, May 15 will mark the first opportunity for citizens to hear about Buncombe County’s proposed budget for FY 2019.
Parents of students in Asheville City Schools pushed back against what they saw as a tepid response from district leaders after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., saying local administrators were slow to acknowledge families’ fears and provide concrete information. At a March 6 parent forum, some additional details about the district’s safety planning were made available.
Despite tight budgets and bureaucratic hurdles, school nutrition directors are accessing more locally grown foods for area students.