LUMBERTON — “Congratulations, you won and stay tuned.”
That was the final remarks given to the Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County Tuesday by Melanie Black Dubis, the lead counsel who helped secure a state supreme court win for North Carolina students in the 30-year-long Leandro Case.
Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Associate Justice Robin Hudson concluded in November that “the State has proven—for an entire generation—either unable or unwilling to fulfill its constitutional duty.”
The Court remanded the case back to the trial court to determine how much money the state must transfer in light of the most recent budget bill passed by the General Assembly.
With November’s Supreme Court Decision, Dubis told board members the PSRC School system is in line to recieve a 42% budget increase in state funding over the next eight years — about $69 million — as well as additional school resources.
“The Supreme Court held that this is the only plan that the state has presented. This is the plan that is in place, this is the plan that is ordered to be implemented and while the money is not flowing yet until the Supreme Court tell you otherwise, this is the funding,” Dubis said.
Red Springs athletics
In other business, Jerome Hunt, PSRC’s athletics director, submitted a nominee for Mike Smith to be the namesake of the Red Springs High School Football stadium at the newly built athletic complex.
“Let me just say, we all know Mike personally, and naming this stadium would be a great honor for him,” Hunt said. “I support this nomination 100%.”
Smith graduated from Red Springs High School in 1976 and was a “star athlete” during his time there, Hunt said. Smith is also a school board member and has served in that capacity for more than three decades.
“Mike has demonstrated exemplary leadership and serves as a positive role model for members of the community and students. Mike is always present to support students at athletic events and provides uplifting and positive feedback to our students,” Hunt said.
No vote was needed on the matter. The school district has scheduled a public forum for community members at 5 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Red Springs High School cafeteria. The matter will then be brought back to the Board of Education for PSRC at the February meeting as an action item to be voted on.
School board member Terry Locklear asked that this procedure be updated.
“I would like for us to really rethink this process because in my mind I think that the town hall should be done first then the names proposed should be brought to us to vote on one time,” Locklear said.
Despite the request, Locklear said he “fully supports” the stadium being named after Smith.
If approved, the field will be known as the Mike Smith Stadium.
In other Red Springs athletics news, Hunt told board members to save the date for Jan. 21 which will serve as the day on which the long-awaited ribbon cutting for the Red Springs High School Athletic Complex will be held. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. A rain date is set for Jan. 28.
Also, Tuesday, Andrew Davis, PSRC’s director of Curriculum and Instruction, told board members that the school district has completed its Local Academically or Intellectually Gifted Plan, which means the NC Department of Public Instruction has given the plan satisfactory approval.
Davis told board members that the program has doubled with 142 more newly identified students than the previous school year.
Suggestions in the partial evident practices of the plan is to include resources used in grades 9-12 within advanced courses, describe intentional strategies used to retain AIG licensed professionals, describe efforts to include stakeholders, external partners and parents to provide input, and include processes and procedures that parents and guardians can follow.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.