Craven County educators discuss concerns with county, state officials

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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A group of principals had the opportunity to talk with county government officials and a state law maker about concerns they have when it comes to funding and legislation needed to improve the school system.

The group at the Craven County Schools legislative breakfast focused on four major topics: k-3 class size, local control of the school calendar, supporting physical education and the arts, and a discussion on the laws that impact substitutes and retirees.​

In a round table format, principals each had the chance to speak with Craven County Commissioners, Board of Education members, and state Representative Michael Speciale (R-New Bern).

Educators say their goal is always to make sure students have the best opportunity for success and they want to make sure they are voicing any concerns they may have when it comes to legislation that could affect that.

"I think it's really important for us to remember that ultimately everything we do impacts our student learning, these kids are our future and we need to make sure we give them every opportunity to be successful, and that's our job and that's our passion, and so having this opportunity to talk to these representatives, our county commissioners, is great for us to have our voice out there," says Principal Debbie Hurst with W.J. Gurganus Elementary School.

One of the biggest issues that was discussed Friday was the lowering of k-3 class sizes. Educators say they would love to have smaller class sizes, but that it would create problems in other areas to accommodate that.

The principals that spoke with WITN say smaller k-3 classrooms without funding for more teachers could force bigger classes in higher grade levels or require them to possibly cut programs like art and music, which they say are very important to student success.

Rep. Speciale said that this topic is something the General Assembly will need to revisit.

He says these types of events are critical to ensuring the General Assembly is in tune with the needs of educators across the state.