School Board to meet June 14, 2021.
LAWRENCEVILLE – The Brunswick County Board of Supervisors met with the Brunswick County School Board on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 to talk about the proposed school facility. The meeting was held in the Brunswick High School cafeteria and several members of the community attended. No action was taken.
Two options are being considered. Option 1 would be to construct a new building for Pre K through grade 6 and move grades 7 and 8 to Brunswick High School. Option 2 would be construct a new building for Pre K through grade 8. The Tech Center would receive capital improvements as needed. Changes are planned for Brunswick High School and the School Board office would move to Brunswick High School in both options. A new sports facility is also planned. All three elementary schools and Russell Middle School would be closed in both options and the new facility would be located in Lawrenceville.
The School Board will meet on Monday, June 14, 2021 at 7 p.m. in the Brunswick High School cafeteria and is expected to vote on which option the members support. The meeting is open to the public. The Supervisors provide the funding.
The Brunswick County Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. at the Brunswick County Government Building, 228 North Main Street. The meeting is open to the public. The Supervisors are expected to adopt the FY2021-20222 Consolidated Budget at this meeting.
A citizen tried to speak calling attention to the declining population in Brunswick County but was not allowed to continue because no citizen input was accepted at this meeting.
Josh Bower with Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates, the architectural firm working on the Division Wide Feasibility Study, gave an overview of the options.
Dr. Kristy Somerville Midgette, Division Superintendent, Brunswick County Public Schools, provided a tentative timeline: July 2021- February 2022 – Design phase of the facility; February 2022 – Place the options for bid; March 2022 – Acceptance of bids – work to begin March or April 2022.
At the June 2 meeting Dr. Charlette T. Woolridge, County Administrator, said funding for the project would be available in the fall of 2022.
Supervisor John Zubrod who represents the Meherrin District expressed frustration with the School Board saying this project began three years ago but the School Board has not sold the project to the community. He said for the past few weeks the Supervisors have held public meetings and 95 percent of the people who spoke are against this project. Zubrod said his constituents are saying that the School Board needs to fix what’s going on inside of the schools. He said his phone is ringing and people are complaining. Zubrod also complained that the members of the School Board didn’t correct mistruths that were stated at the public hearings. He feels they don’t have community support. Zubrod said he feels the county needs a new school desperately because schools are important to economic development.
School Board Chair Roy Warwick said he didn’t think the School Board should speak at the public hearings. He also said a new school is needed. Warwick said the two boards must work together.
Supervisor Welton Tyler said that no one wants to pay more in taxes but citizens want more services. He said some people support public education and some don’t. Tyler said the county needs a new school because schools are tied to economic development. He said leaders have a hard decision to make. Tyler also said he has received calls from citizens, black and white, about this proposed tax increase. He said the county must move forward and do what is best for the county. Tyler said consolidation will save money in the long run. He said he wants to leave the county in a better position than when he took office.
Warwick said he has heard rumors that the tax rate has changed.
Dr. Barbara Jarrett Harris, Chair, asked what rumors and further stated it was difficult to chase rumors. She said the supervisors have held community meetings. Dr. Harris said the supervisors have heard from the community and from businesses but there is one group they have not heard from – the children. Businesses look at our schools, said Dr. Harris, and we have a responsibility to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century.
Dr. Harris said when Dr. Alfonzo Seward joined the board they held a retreat so he would be up to date on issues.
Dr. Woolridge said at this point the proposed increase in real estate taxes is $0.12 per $100 of assessed value. The current rate is $0.53 so the new proposed rate would be $0.65 per $100 of assessed value.
School Board member Tracie Seward said some people are not buying what they are selling. She said some people support the project and some don’t. Seward said the leaders have to think of what is best for the children of Brunswick County. She said they are selling hope and expressed concern about where all of the anger is coming from.
Dr. Midgette said the line of communication is always open between her and Dr. Woolridge.
School Board member Timothy Puryear said the School Board began this project three years ago in order to make the schools competitive. He said environment is very important and called attention to the money being wasted maintaining old buildings. Puryear said we must prepare our students to compete in the 21st century and he is committed to the project.
Dr. Seward said he favors Option 1 and further stated that a new sports complex would provide a place for citizens to walk providing health benefits.
Tyler agreed and said he favors Option 1.
Dr. Seward recapped the “broken window theory” – broken windows leads to more broken windows and no pride in the building.
Dr. Harris said it was good for the two boards to meet and have a dialogue.
Warwick thanked the Supervisors for their support and said he understood they were catching a lot of flack over the proposed increase in taxes. He said he was excited about the project and said the county will have a facility they can be proud of. Warwick said the members pay taxes too even if they don’t have kids in school.
Dr. Harris thanked the School Board of hosting the meeting and expressed appreciation to the citizens. She said the two boards are working hard to make the county better.