School board decides on final bond proposal

School board decides on final bond proposal
May 05
05:10 2016

Funds to acquire land for elementary school in East Winston added at last minute.



Following months of meetings with parents, teachers, and a number of community organizations, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County (WSFC) Board of Education has finally decided on a bond proposal to take to county commissioners later this month.

The final budget proposal is set at $350 million and includes four replacement schools, two new middle schools, additions at four existing schools, a new pre-K center and adding entry-access controls at all middle schools in the county.

The proposal also sets aside $24 million for technology upgrades in every school in the district and a number of other district-wide projects.

While funds to acquire land for a new elementary school in the eastern portion of the city were removed from earlier versions of the proposal, the final proposal includes $900,000 to buy land to replace Ashley Elementary.

According to school board officials, the Ashley project was added at the last minute to address concerns from the community that the East Winston community was not included in proposal talks. Board vice chairman Robert Barr said adding the project lets the community know that the board heard their voice.

While a number of members in the East Winston community are happy to see Ashley included in the proposal, the Community School Bond Coalition (CSBC) raised the point that there currently isn’t a middle school in that area of the city.

Made up of four community organizations, the Big Four Alumni Association, Winston-Salem Branch of the NAACP – Education Committee, New South Community Coalition, and North Winston Neighborhood Association, CSBC is an advocate for the best possible bond proposal for students, teachers and residents.

President of the Big Four Alumni Association Eric Martin said the board talks about building more neighborhood schools but the inner city is often overlooked. Martin said while they agree with the board that Ashley needs to be moved, more could have been done to address the issues in the inner city.

“When the school system says they have neighborhood schools, what neighborhoods are you talking about?” he said. “For certain kids they have a neighborhood school, but kids in East Winston and similar areas, they don’t.”

Martin noted that the town of Kernersville has just as many schools as the city of Winston-Salem, but don’t have nearly as many people living there. President of the local NAACP branch Isaac Howard mentioned kids in East Winston have to wake up more than two hours before school starts to catch a bus to county schools.

“These kids have to wake up at 5 and 6 in the morning to catch the bus,” said Howard. “That puts them at a major disadvantage. When they get to school they are already tired.”

Superintendent Beverly Emory praised CSBC for taking concern with the education of the students in the East Winston community. While the final proposal did not include everything the coalition asked for, Emory noted it’s always a plus to sit down and talk to people who ask for information and do their homework.

Later this month the board is expected to take the final bond proposal to the county commissioners who have the final say on the cost of the final bond package. If approved, the bond will be included on the November ballot.

County Commissioner Everette Witherspoon said while the board of education is requesting $350 million, there is no guarantee that they will be granted that amount. Witherspoon also mentioned that the board of commissioners looks a lot different from the last time the school board presented a bond proposal.

“Nothing is set in stone,” said Witherspoon. “They could get less or they could get more; we won’t know until we sit down and access the situation.”

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors