LUMBERTON — A member of the Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County says he will make a motion during the meeting tonight to delay any transfer of fourth-grade students out of Tanglewood and Rowland-Norment elementary schools until at least the 2014-15 school year.
Severeo Kerns said he wants to see what effect the conversion of Southeastern Academy, which is now a private school, into a public charter school will have on crowding at Tanglewood and Rowland-Norment.
“I think we’re jumping the gun a little bit,” said Kerns, who voted against the transfer of fourth-graders from the two schools to Carroll Middle School during a school board retreat last month. “Don’t make the decision to transfer the students this academic year.
“We should wait and see how many students are going to be transferring,” he said. “We know there’s going to be some that will be going to that charter school … .”
Dwayne Smith, whose district includes Tanglewood Elementary and Carroll Middle schools, said that he will second Kerns’ motion.
“That’s a no-brainer,” Smith said. “I’ve got to stand for what’s right … .”
Bosco Locklear joined Kerns and Smith in voting against the transfers at the retreat.
When the school board’s plans became public knowledge, there was a backlash from the local communities, particularly Tanglewood. That included a meeting at Tanglewood Elementary School during which Dwayne Smith and Mike Smith, chairman of the school board, answered questions and concerns from the public.
Dwayne Smith says crowding at the schools, particularly Tanglewood, is because of the high number of out-of-district students attending school there. Almost 25 percent of Tanglewood students live outside the school district.
“Why are you moving in-district kids out to make room for transfers for out-of-district kids?” Dwayne Smith said. “Limit the transfers and set policies in place.”
School officials say there is plenty of room at Carroll Middle School.
School administrators said that 114 third-grade students at Tanglewood and 87 at Rowland-Norment would be affected by the transfer. Assistant Superintendent Walter Jackson also said that five teachers from Tanglewood and four teachers from Rowland-Norment will also be transferred to the middle school to teach fourth grade.
The board will meet at 6 p.m. at the central office at 410 Caton Road.
In other action, the board is expected to:
— Approve an athletic transfer policy that will prohibit students from transferring more than once in any single school year to participate in a sport.
— Name high school marshals.
— Approve leasing the Townsend Middle School gym to the town of Maxton for use as a community center.
— Approve a financial report and budget amendments.