Local News

Person County Parents Calling For Superintendent's Resignation

Posted May 12, 2005

— A group of parents are petitioned before the Person County School Board Thursday evening for the resignation of the schools' superintendent.

The parents say that after 23 years, Ronnie Bugner needs to go.

One parent pressuring Bugner to resign claims the county's dropout rate is too high.

"We would like to see complete reform in the Person County School System," Gentry said.

Bugner points out that while the system's dropout rate increased last year, it is still below the state average.

"Everytime somebody has called me with that complaint, I have called over to the school, and they have assured me they have not done so," Bugner said.

The Department of Public Instruction shows Person County with a dropout rate at 3.16 percent in the 2003-2004 school year, compared with the state average of 3.29 percent dropout rate.

Gentry, though, said the numbers do not tell the entire story. She said the system is not equipped to handle special needs children, so rather than deal with them, she said they discipline them and suspend them.

Gentry also claims children with learning disabilities and behavioral problems, including her son, are encouraged to drop out of school.

"After (my son) was suspended so many times, he was told he'd never get caught up and should just drop out and get his GED," Gentry said.

Bugner admitted the school system could use more psychologists and therapists, but he said the budget would not allow it. He said the system is doing the best with what it has.

"The public seems to demand good behavior in the schools, and then when we try to do some things to get that kind of behavior, we get criticized," Bugner said.

School board members are supportive of Bugner. They said he has gradually improved the quality of education in Person County over the past couple of years.

They also acknowledge that there is a high level of discontent in the community. They said they are taking the petition and the complaint seriously.

Bugner said he would not be resigning. Critics said they will keep petitioning until he does.

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