School meeting stirs debate when idea of K-8 schools presented

POSTED: 12:29 AM Oct 08 2013   UPDATED: 12:52 AM Oct 08 2013
KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY -

It was a lively debate at the Lenoir County Board of Education meeting Monday night as the board presented the idea of more K-8 schools.

The Lenoir County Superintendent Stephen Mazingo, started a task force about eight months ago to investigate ways to improve the district.

Monday night’s meeting centered around several ideas proposed by the School System Improvement Task Force, including one proposal that would transform all of Lenoir County's elementary and middle schools into kindergarten through 8th grade schools.

The decision would mean kids as young as five-years-old would be in the same building as fourteen-year-olds. In order to make the plan work Lenoir County would be divided into three geographic zones, each zone would contain one high school and four K- 8 schools.

Frances Herring, principal of Contentnea-Savannah  K-8 School, the only K-8 school in Lenoir County, said the program has worked well for them.

"We've made great strides. It’s really nice to be with children for nine years. You can really track their progress, help them grow and build a support system with them like a family when you have them for that long,” Herring said.  

Kristen Stroud said she is worried it would not be a safe environment for her child.

"I’m against it when I read about it in the paper. I didn't appreciate the fact that we had to read about it in the paper and hear about it from facebook instead of getting information to the parents beforehand,” Stroud said.

No final decision was made at the meeting, but parents were able to hear the proposal and voice their opinions. Board members said they will continue to explore the option and answer all questions at the next board of education meeting.

Lenoir County School Officials stated that they'll only make changes that a majority of parents support. Parents heard several other proposals such as introducing themed schools and career academy schools.