A referendum meant to help schools in Brunswick County was denied by voters Tuesday, now administrators are looking for other options for funding.
"If we had a few more months to get the information out about how our student population is growing and also about the things we'd like to do to enhance our facilities and our programs to provide world-class instruction for our kids, I think they really were not completely informed," Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden said.
He believes he has to educate the community about what's needed to better educate students. Pruden thinks the quarter penny tax plan might then stand a chance.
Just one example of the many issues the county's schools are facing is overcrowding. Some teachers don't even have classrooms. They instead float through campus, setting up their lessons wherever there is space.
"I'm a mobile class room," said Anne McNeely, a North Brunswick High School teacher. "I get really good at not being able to use the bathroom because I have to beat them [students] in there. It's a piece of classroom management."
McNeely carries a backpack and a stack of papers to each area she uses for class time. She looks more like a student than a teacher, running down the halls to make it to class.
She's not alone though. She is one of 20 others who "float" from room to room.
"You know I try to do the best I can, try to stay optimistic, because if you're not, the students won't have faith in what you are trying to do to help them." Shannon Bates, a 'floating' teacher said.
She uses carts to get her lesson plans from room to room, an option that seems easier because it has wheels; however, it comes with its own troubles: items falling off in the halls.
"Successful teachers need space and the equipment and the time to help them [students] be successful," Bates said.
Officials say the quarter-penny tax referendum wouldn't have fixed all of the issues they are facing, but it could have been a start.
They said the needs remain and will continue to increase as the school system looks for alternatives to meet a growing student body.
A recent facility study that examined existing building maintenance and future facilities necessary to address the growing and shifting student population identified over $250 million in capital needs, according to Jessica Swencki with Brunswick Co. Schools.
The list was scaled back to address the most pressing needs, but the price tag still exceeded $100 million.
Officials say they are looking for alternatives to keep up the fight for funding, meeting with Brunswick County Commissioners next week.
Options may include resubmitting the quarter penny tax referendum to voters in November.
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