Hoke County Schools Hope Judge's Ruling Will Help Provide More Funding
Posted April 10, 2002 10:30 a.m. EDT
HOKE COUNTY, N.C. — A superior court judge ruled last week North Carolina has to pay millions more to help schools in low-wealth counties catch up. When the suit started years ago, lawyers picked Hoke County schools as the example of what is wrong. School leaders now hope the ruling will help.
Daniel Beason is graduating with straight A's on his transcript and yet, he feels at a disadvantage compared with students he's met in wealthier counties.
"They had GPAs over 5.0 and I thought, 'How am I going to compare to them when I try to get into college or applying and they look back they see that,'" he said.
Money makes a difference and Advanced Placement courses provide an example. Hoke County High School only offers 4 AP courses. Wake County high schools offer at least six or more of the college level courses a year and students take a lot of them.
A Superior Court judge's recent decision makes the state pay attention to at-risk 4-year-olds, and that is one area where Hoke County has already seen a difference.
Hoke County has 400 4-year-olds identified as "at-risk" for failure. Gov. Easley's new More At Four program doubled Hoke's pre-school enrollment in January a result of the lawsuit. Half of those kids are now in preschool giving them a head start.
Money spent now catching kids up could be spent in the future on Advanced Placement courses and other instruction. Hoke County's superintendent hopes extra funding for certified teachers will eventually come from the state, but he said even the lawsuit will not provide a quick fix.