Board defers new Ashley school

Board defers new Ashley school
June 14
05:00 2018

Fight for new building before 2024 continues

With a number of #ActionForAshley supporters in attendance, board members voted earlier this week to move forward with a schematic plan for a new middle school in the northwest portion of the city.

Earlier this year, faculty, staff, and students at Ashley Academy for Cultural and Global Studies complained that lingering mold in the school was causing upper respiratory problems. After air quality test results showed mold growth and mold samples inside several HVAC units, board members voted to clean the HVAC units and replace the units at the end of the school year.

#ActionForAshley, a group of community activists who have vowed to stand up for the students parents, teachers, and faculty, believe the only way to make things right at Ashley is to build a new school. And on May 22 more than two dozen activists carrying signs demanding a new school delivered their message directly to the board.

While the Board of Education hasn’t totally said ‘No’ to a new Ashley, they have basically told supporters ‘not right now.’ Although plans for a new school were included in the 2016 Bond Proposal, construction isn’t scheduled to begin until 2024.

During the board meeting on Tuesday, June 12, city native and longtime community activist Al Jabbar raised questions about transparency on the part of the board. He also questioned the distribution of tax dollars to certain schools.

“We should not be coming forward and listening to someone who can’t make a report with dates that’s attributed to the work they’re suppose to be doing,” he said. “We hold you accountable as a school board to ensure these things happen. You pay people hundreds and thousands of dollars to do this work and you don’t hold them accountable.

“We look for better results in the future. I pray I don’t have to come before you again with this same concern, but I will.”

When it came time to vote on a schematic plan for a new middle school on Robinhood Road, the dozens of supporters of #ActionForAshley in attendance sat on the edge of their seats. Rev. Alvin Carlisle, president of the local NAACP branch, and other supporters of a new school, have vowed to halt all other construction until the students at Ashley are in a new building, adopting the motto, “Not another brick, Not another bond.”

Just before it was time to vote on the plan, Deanna Taylor said she would not be voting for any new construction until there was a comprehensive plan for Ashley.

Despite her willingness to stand up and be heard, the motion passed.

According to the 2016 Bond Project List, the new middle school on Robinhood Road is expected to cost $26,989,200. It is believed the school is needed to relieve the capacity of Meadowlark and Jefferson. A new middle school at Smith Farm, and replacement schools at Brunson Elementary, Konnoak Elementary, Lowrance Middle School and Paisley IB Magnet School are also included in the 2016 Bond with price tags that exceed $18,000,000.

The estimated price tag for “land for a new eastern elementary school” is $1,500,000. 

A complete list of the 2018 Bond Projects are available on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools website. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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