1. Closingof MaST Early College inCarteretCounty
I sympathize withstudentswhoattendedMaSTlastyear or whowere anticipatingbeingable toattendthiscomingyear.
I hope youcan understandthissituationfromthe BOE'sperspective,aswe are tryingto make financiallyresponsible
decisionsthatwill bestserveourentire school system.All otherconsiderationsaside,fromafinancial perspective,we
wouldnotbe able to continue MaST withoutstate funding.Andunfortunately,the decisiononstate fundingwill likely
not be confirmeduntil well afterthe school yearstarts.We couldnotcontinue tokick the can downthe road. The
countycommissionersonlyagreedtofundMaST lastyear underthe assumption of receivingEarlyCollege state funding.
The state didnotfundEarly Collegeslastyear(we hadtotake moneyintendedforCCC'saquaculture programjustto
openMaST), andstate fundingisuncertainagainthisyear. Withthiscontinueduncertaintyon EarlyCollege funding,the
Regardlessof the statusof state fundingforEarly College, ourschool system still facesreducedstate &federal funding
whichresultedinashortage of fundedteachingpositionsinschoolsacrossourcounty. So intheirmeetingMonday
night,the countycommissionersgraciouslyvotedtoallow ustokeepthe moneyoriginallyallocatedforMaST,and asked
that we insteaduse ittowardsfundingsome of the unfunded teachingpositionsinourothercountyschools(...positions
whichwouldhave otherwise beenlost). Isupportand agree withtheirdecision.We mustweighthe wants andneedsof
MaST students andparentsagainstthe needsof the restof the studentsinourschool system.
Delayingthe closingof MaST bya couple of weekswould have onlydelayedthe inevitable,unnecessarilygivingMaST
supportersfalse hope. Delayingmighthave easedthe blow,orperhapscontinuedthe painforlonger. Like itornot,we
optedforthe “pull-off-the-band-aid-quicklyapproach.” Withoutguarantees of bothstate ANDlocal funding,MaST
simply couldnotremainopen. Supportforlocal fundingwasalreadygone,andsupportatthe state level hasbeen
waning(and likely wouldnotbe finalized intwomonths,muchlesstwoweeks). Redistrictingwouldn't doanythingto
helppayfor the cost of MaST. Andwe cannotcontinue a programbasedon hopes orpromisesof fundingfrom
charities,donations,fundraising,etc....these are notviable fundingsourcesformaintainingapublicschool. Andwe also
cannot charge tuitiontokeepthe school open. Many MaST studentswouldn'tbe able toaffordto pay tuition,and
besides...thenwe wouldessentiallybe creatingaprivate school. (Some people alreadyconsideredMaSTto be
somewhatof a publicly-fundedprivate school...offeringprivateschool advantages foraselectfew,butpaidforby
I wouldlove if we couldaffordtoprovide aMaST experience forstudentsacrossCarteretCounty.Butunfortunately,this
justisn'tpossible. Itiseasyto lookat the cases of individualstudents,see the benefitsMaSTprovidedthesestudents,
and desire tocontinue helpingthem. Itismuch more difficulttolookatthe big picture andsee the unintended
consequencesthatfundingMaSTmay have on the restof our school system. Weighingsuchitemsandtryingtomake
rational andequitable decisionsonthemisone of the toughesttaskswe face as a school board.
I’msorry, butI hope everyone cantryto understandwhywe made the decisionwe did. AndIwish everyone wellin
theirowndecisionstodetermine whatschoolingoptionisbestfor theirchildand theirfamily.