County Board of Commissioners Chairman Clark Wooten believes there should be more balance when it comes to options in Sampson classrooms.
During a budget setting between district officials and Sampson County Board of Commissioners, he expressed his concerns about career programs being offered at only certain high schools.
Wooten said several constituents called him about the matter and began the conversation by bringing up the nursing education at Hobbton High School. He questioned why it’s not available at the other schools in the district. Midway High School’s Automotive shop was another example thrown into the mix. Union and Lakewood high schools have ROTC.
“A building doesn’t make a school and a house don’t make a home,” Wooten said.
He addressed his feelings to Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy and Telfair Simpson, school board chairman. Wooten referred to it as a form of legislating a child’s career path.
“Where do you find it within yourself to legislate that they can’t go there? There’s arbitrary lines in this county that a kid can’t cross,” Wooten said. “We realize that we can’t have top programs in every one of our schools, yet the board of education legislates that you can’t cross that line.”
Bracy said there’s certain circumstances, such as a parent working in a particular area. The issues may be explored in the future, according to Bracy.
“Those are some things that we have to look at,” Bracy said.
Simpson said they may run into the challenge of students picking a particular school for athletic reasons. Wooten questioned if that really mattered and said tax dollars benefit all schools in the area.
“And when you legislate an arbitrary line that a student can’t cross within your system, I find that very troubling,” Wooten said.
Another issue of giving students choices is having particular schools become too crowded. However, Wooten said parents are dissatisfied with boundaries if their child has interest in a particular program such as nursing or ROTC.
“Say what you will, but you have legislated the pathway of a child by doing that,” Wooten said.
Wooten continued and said it is a passionate issue for him because he believes children are the future. Bracy and Simpson agreed.
“We need to do the best we can for them,” Wooten said. “Each one of them, no matter if they play football, they go to ROTC, not matter if they have special needs — no matter what it is — that’s our future.”
Simpson said he’ll take the matter back to the Sampson County Board of Education for further discussions. Bracy said he would like to have further conversations with Wooten as well.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.