About six years ago, the merged Cleveland County Board of Education was busy selecting a Superintendent. During this time, the Board members were already “politicking”. Board Member Richard Hooker stated his goal this way: “Gov. Jim Hunt’s goal is to make the NC school system the best in the Nation by 2010. My goal is to make Cleveland County Schools the best in North Carolina by 2010.” Well, Former Governor Jim Hunt and CC School Board Member Richard Hooker, it is now 2010 and Cleveland County Schools fail about a quarter of white students and about half of the black students despite spending all the extra millions of dollars because of the merger. And, how is our school system ranking scholastically? We are still right on the bottom!
How can this happen? How could all these young people miss out on a good education? One thing’s for sure, a good education was paid for at a premium price. Paid for by tons of taxes and tons of lottery money too.
Because the Federal Government selected North Carolina as one of the twelve worst school systems in the Nation, the Feds awarded a $400 million “Race to the Top” Grant to North Carolina. Tax money all.
What happened six years ago is the same as what is happening now. Except now we have $400 million more Federal money sent to us in the form of a Grant to help NC make sure students graduate from High School. Cleveland County will get $2.6 million to spend. How much will be wasted? Read on.
The first thing the NC Department of Public Instruction did is skim half the money right off the top. $200 million goes straight to bureaucratic waste in Raleigh. With this kind of extra money available, you can bet the criminal element in the NC General Assembly will be dipping into the pot. Former Speaker of the NC House Jim Black got out of prison just in time to help carve up this turkey. Debbie Clary and Tim Moore didn’t help put any other crooks in the General Assembly in prison along with Jim Black. Nor have Debbie or Tim provided reasons for this lack of depth in prosecuting and sending crooks in the General Assembly to prison.
Anyway, half of this $400 million is gobbled up for “administrative purposes” by the DPI, which does not teach even one child anything. The Counties responsible for teaching all children (although poorly) will receive the remaining $200 million.
Cleveland County gets $2.6 million-which is a little more than an equal share; probably because Cleveland County is a little more lacking than an average North Carolina County.
So, where will the $2.6 million sent to the Cleveland County Board of Education go? CCBOE Chairman Tommy Greene is a diehard bureaucrat and will probably follow the NCDPI lead and allocate half of CC share of the Grant for “administrative purposes”. Hey, that is where the big salaries are and a few cronies of Greene and other Board Members will want some gravy-train jobs without the hassle of dealing with unruly kids. Maybe some Admin folks will get a bonus. Maybe the School Construction and Maintenance folks will get a few pennies like they always do. As far as extra schoolbooks? No chance there. However, the School Board will probably buy a few extra computers at inflated prices from their buddies. Teachers? I predict five or less teachers and teacher aides will be hired. Probably less than $1 per child will ever be spent in ways that will actually benefit the education of a child. And those few dollars will mostly go to “exceptional” classes with the best teachers. Where “exceptional” students are handpicked because they are the children of affluent and influential white folks.
Hey, this is North Carolina and this is Cleveland County. This is how things are done here.