Bond Coalition host roundtable with board

Bond Coalition host roundtable with board
November 05
00:00 2015
Above: Photo by Tevin Stinson- Members of the Community School Bond Coalition sat down with Superintendent Emory Beverly and members of the Board of Education to discuss the 2016 school bond proposal.

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

The Community School Bond Coalition (CSBC) recently sat down with school Superintendent Beverly Emory and members of the Board of Education to discuss the 2016 school bond proposal.

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

During the roundtable discussion held at Ambassador Cathedral, 1500 Harriet Tubman Drive, Emory praised the organization for putting the event together.

“I just want to applaud the very professional way the organization went about putting this together.” she said. “It’s always a plus to sit down and talk to people who ask for information and do their homework. In every step of the way, this just felt like a really good opportunity to have this conversation.”

According to a press release, the CSBC has been studying the bond proposal since August, which led to the creation of 10 recommendations.

The recommendations are geared toward improving inner city schools, such as moving Ashley Elementary to a new location in the same neighborhood in East Winston. The coalition believes the current location of the school doesn’t allow students to reach their full potential.

Emory agrees.

“Moving Ashley to a new location is where our mind is too,” she said. “It’s nice to be validated by the neighborhood and community.”

Another point of interest for the coalition is building of a middle school in East Winston. Currently Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy is the only middle school in the East Winston area.

The coalition argues that because the school also houses grades 9 through 12, the neighborhood doesn’t have an actual middle school.

President of the Big Four Alumni Association Eric Martin said that when the board talks about building more neighborhood schools, the inner city is often overlooked.

“When the school system says they have neighborhood schools, what neighborhoods are you talking about?” he commented. “For certain kids they have neighborhood schools, but for other kids they don’t. The town of Kernersville has just as many schools as the city, but don’t have nearly as many people living there and that just isn’t right.”

Other suggestions by the coalition included merging the high school program at Winston-Salem Prep with Carver High School to create a magnet program, the rebuilding of Easton Elementary, and  putting an elementary or middle school on Indiana Avenue.

Following the roundtable discussion, Martin said that although the coalition probably will not get everything they asked for, if the board was genuine in their responses, the roundtable was a step in the right direction.

“In years passed the school board would not have even sat down with us,” he continued. “With this board we feel they are really interested in hearing what the community has to say, which definitely is a step in the right direction.”

Earlier this week Emory and the school board held a briefing session to rank the projects listed on the proposed bond.

A number of projects brought up during the roundtable discussion scored very high in the rankings, including the replacement of Ashley Elementary and renovations to Easton Elementary.

The Ashley Elementary project gained a 90 percent approval rate while the Easton project ranked in the 80 to 89 percent range.

The board also voted to remove a number of items from the proposal as well. Those items included replacing Sherwood Forest Elementary, renovations to Deaton-Thompson Stadium, and building a new middle school in Walkertown, as well as new elementary schools in Zone 8 and the Innovation Corridor.

The projects removed from the bond proposal scored less than 60 percent in the rankings.

Today, Thursday, Nov. 5, the board is scheduled to have a meeting with Forsyth County Commissioners to discuss the bond proposal and the progress they have made. The board is expected present the rankings of the projects previous described.

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