Wayne School Board Debates Alleged Segregation At Schools
Posted May 3, 2004 6:18 a.m. EDT
GOLDSBORO, N.C. — Months of debate over school segregation are now affecting every decision the Wayne County School Board makes.
School board members recently received a letter from the Goldsboro City Council, saying it was time for them to do something about segregation or face a lawsuit. Critics argue six schools in the city limits are almost 100-percent black.
"In my opinion, the City Council in Goldsboro has a responsibility other than telling the Wayne County school board you've got to do something about education in Wayne County," school board chairman Pete Gurley said.
The school board is in the middle of finalizing an $82 million building plan. County commissioners must first approve, then voters, in the form of a bond issue, but now the plan could be in jeopardy.
In a letter, commissioners sided with the City Council, saying more study of the school system and diversity needs to be done before such a plan is passed.
School board members said the segregation issue has more to do with city housing patterns than school assignments. They said city leaders are the ones who need to make changes.
"What we need now is to make our city attractive enough to bring people in here, so that they can diversify schools instead of us doing it," Gurley said.
County commissioners and the school board plans to meet face to face to discuss the issue. In the meantime, the NAACP has filed a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights in Atlanta.