School Board leaves middle school schedule as-is
by Jay Lamm
LOUISBURG — A proposed change in middle school bell times has been silenced.
The Franklin County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to reject potential changes to middle school hours.
The proposal, would have changed middle school bell times, delaying the school day by a half hour.
The current 8:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m. was proposed to change to 8:45-3:45 p.m., to preempt any transportation problems brought on by the addition of the new Franklinton Middle School and any other future growth.
The board’s vote fell in line with the public’s overall unfavorable opinion of the changes.
During the meeting, parents spoke of the hardships the changes would cause.
Louisburg’s Sharon Barefoot said the proposed changes took her by surprise.
“I had not been made aware of this. There were no documents from the Board of Education sent home with my child about the changes,” she said. “I had to learn about it as a rumor on Facebook.”
Barefoot said the change would cause a safety concern in her home because of her work schedule. The change might mean having to leave her child home by herself in the morning — something Barefoot found unacceptable.
“I am very emotional about it,” Barefoot said.
Bunn resident Tim Pippin said the changes would create childcare challenges for him and his wife because they are a double-income family. Pippin said arrangements would have to be made to take care of his kids, either in the morning or in the afternoon, if the bell times are changed.
“It is unfortunate not more of my peers are here, because what I am hearing on the street, in the community, at church is no one is really for this change,” Pippin said.
“The biggest issue people are having is the information is lacking, it is slow to be released. It’s gossip at the water cooler. It’s rumors on social media, and it’s just not being presented upfront. It’s being done undercover.”
Assistant Superintendent for Auxiliary Services Tommy Piper said the proposed changes were not done in secret and had been on the school system’s website for 30 days. In that time there have been about 320 public responses. Three hundred of those responses opposed to the proposal, Piper said.
Before the plan was rejected by the board, school board member Dr. Elizabeth Keith said that different options were needed and asked for the change to be put off until next year.
School board vacancy
The school board will take applications to fill the at-large District 7 board seat vacated by Dannie Williams. The term ends in 2016.
The deadline for applications is July 10 at 5 p.m. Williams resigned his seat last month to pursue the human resources assistant superintendent position with Franklin County Schools.
The next meeting of the Franklin County Schools Board of Education is July 22, 7 p.m., on the Riverside campus, Louisburg.