NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A tour of College Park Elementary provided an up close look at the needs of the New Hanover County School system Wednesday afternoon.
Homeless people on campus, wires running across ceilings, and close quarters in classrooms were just a few of the concerns that Principal Maria Greene mentioned to members of the School Board and Board of County Commissioners.
The school is a top priority for the Board of Education, which listed 25 projects that total more than $280 million.
Local leaders said Wednesday that College Park is a prime example of the needs facing the school system. School Board Chair Don Hayes said the story of a homeless man wandering into the cafeteria for food is upsetting, but a serious possibility at several county schools.
"You don't like to hear those stories and you wonder what we're doing wrong," said Chairman Woody White of the board of commissioners.
There are 80 mobile units in the school system, and Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley said Wednesday that the projected needs before the elected leaders would not be enough to do away with all of the trailers. Hayes said he expects to see less of a need for them with this new capital need.
The $280 million is not a final figure. Leaders will continue to discuss the right amount with the intention of putting it to the voters for a referendum during the November general election next year.
Until then, Hayes said he hopes families continue to support the school system however they can.
"We want people to keep buying those lotto tickets," he said. "Because those have sustained our capital needs."
Hayes said the citizens of New Hanover County have always been supportive of the school system through bond efforts.
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