Asheville City School District
A Plea to County Commissioners:
Please do what you can to help prevent ACS from running itself into the ground. The years of financial mismanagement and failed leadership feel like they're coming to a head. This time next year there will be an elected board, finally with some accountability, please help prevent this lame duck board from doing irreversible damage to our district by closing a school and relocating preschool classrooms, yet again. Stakeholders are exhausted and have lost faith. The enrollment crisis will simply deepen with these actions. Demand a long term plan and budget from ACS that details the benefits of closing this successful, well-loved school. RIght now NO ONE is convinced.
From the APS PTC:
ACS BOE meeting Monday 12/6/2021
A consolidation proposal for Asheville Primary School will be presented at tonight's BOE meeting. No public comment will be allowed at this meeting, and no decision will be made.
Watch here: https://www.ashevillecityschools.net/Page/5472
Open hearing on consolidation Tuesday 12/7/2021
Join us to make public comment at the Open Hearing on Tuesday, December 7th at ACS Central Office, 85 Mountain Street, Asheville. Sign up for comment opens at 4:30pm. REMOTE COMMENT WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE. Written comment may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm on Tuesday.
Advocacy Time is Here Again!
From the Asheville Primary Parent-Teacher Collective:
Please share your thoughts on our beloved public Montessori, and the 4 city preschool classrooms that remain on site by filling out this survey from the Board of Education. You can share your love for public Montessori education and Asheville Primary here:
Every voice matters, so even if you only have time to write one sentence, we hope you will.
Here is an updated timeline:
Board work session at 4pm.
Public Comment IN PERSON at 6:30.
85 Mountain St, Asheville, NC 28801
Free pizza! Transportation available--just email email@example.com
It's Not Just About Saving One School. It's About Saving Our District.
The cracks are showing in ACS district leadership. The mismanagement of Asheville Primary and the ACS Preschool is just one symptom of a much deeper set of problems. The jumbled, ever-changing "plans," the opaque budgeting decisions, and the refusal to center our children and put their needs first are irresponsible and unacceptable.
The school board needs to take control and restructure central office before it is too late.
Board Member Email Addresses
firstname.lastname@example.org - (828) 301-2894
email@example.com - (828) 450-2703
firstname.lastname@example.org - (828) 273-9445
email@example.com - (828) 713-2083
firstname.lastname@example.org - (828) 279-1197
WE. DON'T. FIT.
Families pointed this discrepancy (and many others) out at the public hearing in March, and it was not addressed or revised in the updated study.
Please keep in mind that Montessori classrooms are multi-age, and Pre-K3 and 4 are an integral part of our early childhood (PreK and K) classrooms.
Updated APS "study":
More issues outlined here:
Special Called Meeting Thursday, May 6th, 2021 Targets ACS Budget
I. Call to Order - 4:00 PM James C. Carter, Board Chair
II. Quorum Determination James C. Carter, Board Chair
III. Adopt An Agenda James C. Carter, Board Chair
IV. Budget Georgia Harvey, Executive Director of Finance
V. Future Meetings/Announcements ● Work Session/Closed Session and Regular Meetings, will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 10, 2021 at the Administrative Offices, Board Room, 85 Mountain Street, Asheville, NC, 28801
VI. Adjournment - 6:00 p.m.
BOE chooses new chair and vice chair, opts to put the fate of APS back on the agenda at their next work session.
At tonight's regular meeting, James Carter was chosen as the new ACS BOE Chair in a 3-2 vote, and Jackie McHargue was chosen as the new vice chair, also by a vote of 3-2. Shaunda Sandford and Martha Geitner voted for Peyton O'Conner for both the chair and vice chair positions.
During the work session that preceded the meeting, Jackie asked that the future of Asheville Primary School be put on the agenda for their next work session, and there was unanimous consent, so please continue to contact board members to share your perspective on the future of APS and ACS early childhood education.
Also notable: Strong public comment in favor of transparency and stakeholder involvement in decision making and questions about the honesty and legality of the process so far.
ACS Plan to Close and Vacate Asheville Primary School Could Displace Other Vital Early Childhood Programs
"4. What is the impact to Community Action Opportunities programming from Asheville City Schools Preschool moving into Housing Authority locations, including Burton being one of the locations they cited in their application?"
"CAO has previously had a strong partnership with ACS for many, many years. We have collaborated in many areas including: community assessments, shared training opportunities, participated on selection and assessment committees, and co-located staff. CAO Head Start has also contracted with ACS to provide education services to Head Start eligible children (current contract is for 55 children) for over 20 years.
CAO was surprised to learn of the Primary School closure in the news. As of March 12, CAO, ACS, HACA and the County have met together for exactly one hour of conversation regarding possible collaborations and solutions to the community crisis created by this decision.
CAO leases its three city Head Start Centers located at Hillcrest, Pisgah View, and Southside (the Lonnie D. Burton ECE Center) from the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville (HACA). There has been no request to date regarding Hillcrest or Pisgah View centers. ACS has approached HACA and requested the full use of the Lonnie D. Burton ECE Center.
If approved, this would dislocate / evict four classrooms of high-quality early childhood education serving 72 Head Start, NC Pre-K, and BCECEDF children and families that live on lower incomes. At the Burton Center this year, 75% of children served are children of color, 80% of families are single parent households and the average income is for all families is $10,388. ACSs’ current plan would reduce or supplant high-quality, comprehensive Head Start services to children and families of color and families living on low incomes."
PRESS PAUSE AND MAKE A PLAN
Keep the Montessori and Preschool classrooms in place at APS and take at least one year to involve all stakeholders in making good decisions that benefit all ACS children.
Asheville Primary School (APS) is an Asheville City School (ACS) building that currently houses two programs- The Asheville City Preschool (a 5 Star preschool program that benefits some of Asheville’s most vulnerable families) and Asheville Primary (WNC's only public Montessori school).
The ACS School Board and Superintendent have decided, without meaningful community input, to begin the process of selling the APS building and the property on which it sits. They intend to reclassify the Montessori School as a "program" and move its 8 classrooms into Hall Fletcher Elementary School. They have put a freeze on ACS Preschool enrollment and say they will move the 7 5-Star preschool classrooms to unknown locations around the district and/or community.
Support Our Students!
Join us to prevent a short-sighted dissolution of two fully-enrolled, highly successful programs within ACS and to stop the sale of the campus on Haywood Road in West Asheville. The families, staff, and supportive community of Asheville Primary School agree that the decision to sell the building at 441 Haywood Road and the redistribution of the Asheville City Preschool and public Montessori school currently housed there to other spaces is short-sighted and is being made hastily without a long-term plan for what is best for the community. Stakeholders’ requests for an open dialogue with district leadership and Board of Education Members have been denied. These drastic decisions that impact the entire Asheville community should not be made during a pandemic, under new leadership, and without stakeholder involvement. We demand transparency from the Board of Education and the Superintendent about why this agenda is being rammed through right now.