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NAACP Says Respond To Lincoln Closure By Electing New School Board Members
5/11/2016 4:33:32 PM

By Barney Blakeney

Charleston County School Board Monday voted to close Lincoln Middle High School in rural McClellanville despite opposition from residents. District officials say closing the school, the second most expensive to operate with only 156 students, is necessary to help offset an $18 million budget shortfall. The Charleston NAACP says the decision is punishing students and educators while failing to hold those at fault for the shortfall responsible.

At an April 5 press conference Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott said the branch is concerned the Black community will bear the major impact of the district’s budget shortfall response.

Lincoln Middle High is among several schools proposed for closure. Most are predominantly Black. And 10 of the 12 vice principals to be reassigned to other positions in the district are Black, she said.

“All of this is being done while efforts to privatize some schools and create new charter schools are going forward in spite of budgetary concerns and while there will be minimal impact to predominantly white schools,” Scott said. “The response to the district’s financial woes is horrific and unfair, but it’s nothing new. This is just the most recent chapter of a sad chronicle of race based neglect,” Scott added.

Monday’s 6-3 vote to close Lincoln was cast along racial lines with the board’s three Black representatives voting against closure. Scott said Lincoln, like many predominantly Black schools, consistently are denied the resources to make them viable options for public school education within their respective communities. Parents predictably transfer their children to better options and as a result, those community schools are destined to fail.

At the same time, school officials provide resources to predominantly white new schools like Sullivan's Island Elementary and North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School. She said the district’s allocation for student transportation to magnet schools alone costs about half as much as operating Lincoln Middle High annually.

“We’re talking about fairness and equity and call on people of good will, especially parents, to make their voices heard by those who sit on the school board.” While the NAACP can’t endorse candidates, Scott said it will encourage voters to elect others of good will with vision and respect who also want equity for all children.

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