Debate over cement plant breaks out at NHC school board meeting

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A lot of topics were covered during Tuesday night's New Hanover County school board meeting, but discussion of a new cement plant topped the list.

School Board Chairman Ed Higgins said he was surprised people chose Tuesday's meeting to speak out against the plant.

Many parents are against board members accepting grants from Carolina Cement, saying the plant could affect children who live in the area.

Carolina Cement General Manager Bob Odom told the crowd the company will be a big asset to the community, as long as they are allowed to move here.

"These little grants are small," said Odom.  "When we're here, once we're established we can do much more."

The debate may have taken place in the wrong place.  Higgins said the school board has no power to decide if the plant is built.

"Our job is to provide an education to the children," said Higgins. "The decision about Titan is for county commissioners and legislators to make, and so I'd leave that up to them."

Some doctors and parents disagree with Higgins and say the school board is responsible for the education, but also the safety and well being of the children.

Some speakers at the meeting criticized the company's grants. They say the company was just paying back some of the incentive money local and state leaders promised the company to locate in the area.

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