Monday, December 19, 2005

Bertie School Board Rescinds Motion -NOT

Please note: The NOT in the title above is a modification to the title used by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald for their article of Saturday. Read my opinions below to understand why I disagree with their choice.

Bertie School Board Rescinds Motion

By Cal Bryant - December 17th, 2005 - Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald
WINDSOR - The Bertie County Board of Education has changed its mind.

Exiting a closed session here Thursday afternoon, board members voted to rescind their majority decision on December 5 regarding the proposed desegregation plan and instructed the board’s attorney to develop another proposal and present it to the Department of Justice by the deadline of January 15, 2006.

The new motion includes two options. (1) To close John P. Law and Askewville elementary schools at the end of the 2006- 07 school year; or in the alternative, (2) if funding becomes available by the end of the 2006-07 school year, to close Aulander, John P. Law and Askewville elementary schools at the close of the 2008-09 school year and construct a new elementary school with a capacity of 450 students and to open that school at the start of the 2009-2010 school year.

I have to disagree with Cal's title / headline for his article above. Recognizing the reality of the desegregation case, it is clear that this motion does not change anything, and there is no serious rescinding of the Bertie County Board of Educations' (BOE) previous action by this new action. You have to read it carefully to understand why because technically it does rescind the previous motion.

The judge has the power to order that Bertie County fund alternative 2. Therefore the qualifier "if funding becomes available" has an uncertain meaning. If the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney requests that choice and the judge agrees and orders taxes raised, then alternative 2 is the same effective motion as the previous motion that the BOE claims they are rescinding. How does that mean they have rescinded it? The new vote simply allows them to once again claim that they did not want it, it was ordered by the judge. Since all negotiations between the BOE attorney and the DOJ attorney are secret, how will anyone know what really went on?

The BOE still refuses to demand that we be granted "Unitary Status" immediately, at least they did not even mention it in their press release. Bertie County is not discriminating against minorities and has not for decades. The test is simple, "a school system must be declared unitary when it no longer discriminates between children on the basis of race". That is now the rule as accepted by the Supreme Court. To allow the DOJ to order us to do anything is a claim by the BOE that Bertie County is still discriminating. That is false.

No matter what is ordered by the judge, it will be because the Bertie BOE allowed it and negotiated with the DOJ to get the court to order it. At least one reasonable interpretation is that is done as "cover" for the Bertie BOE to claim it had no choice.

The BOE still wants to close 3 schools. The BOE still wants a new school. The BOE still wants the judge to order both actions. The BOE still has not demanded Unitary Status, the ending of this desgregation case.

When you read the new motion (that was once again passed by a 3 to 2 vote) it is clear that 3 of the Bertie County School Board have not rescinded anything.


Post a Comment

<< Home