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Buncombe County School Board Watch June 2015


Buncombe Is Among Worst Counties For Helping Poor Children Up the Income Ladder

This Harvard study finds that Buncombe is among the worst counties in the U.S. in helping poor children up the income ladder. It is better than only about 4 percent of the counties in the study (2,478 counties). It is relatively worse for poor boys than it is for poor girls.

If a poor child were to grow up in Buncombe County, instead of an average county, he or she would make -$3,420 or 13% less at age 26. Nationally, New York City even performed better than Buncombe with poor children earning -$2,830 or 11% less at age 26. Locally, poor children in Henderson County would earn -$20 or 0% less than average and Transylvania -$1,440 or 6% less. Things are better for poor children in Madison County who would make $330 more than average or 1% more; Haywood County $140 more or 1%; Yancey County $660 or 3% more. Couple the lower earnings with the high cost of living in Buncombe.

Education Matters

Instead of trying to raise academic standards and focus dollars on teaching and learning, Buncombe Schools’ response has been to hire spin doctors (4 person PR/Communications Department) and use local media to perpetuate falsehoods and manipulate truth. This doesn’t do any favors for our children and the teachers trying hard to make a difference.

The data continues to point out deficiencies in Buncombe’s academic standards. Let’s face it – 30 out of 39 county schools scored “C’s and D’s” on the state school report cards last year; even with the 15 point grading scale. For the past two years, testing has shown that half of Buncombe third graders can’t read at grade level. Instead of improving last year, test results worsened.


The 2015-16 education budget needs to be tailored to meet student and teacher needs, not administrative wants.

1. Extra Pay for school sports coaches totals nearly $1 million, but there is no pay for academic team coaches; for example, those teachers leading Science Olympiad, Quiz Bowl, Math Leagues and Debate Teams. These academic teams are a dying breed in Buncombe.

2. Bonus Pay totaling over $600,000 will go to principals and asst. principals for the 10th year in a row; a grand total of more than $6 million dollars that could have been spent on teaching and learning. Some principals will receive as much as $16,000 for “extra duties” that most would assume are part of their job description. Will school board members or commissioners question this expenditure, or offer equitable compensation to our educators who constantly perform “extra duties” at no charge? Principals and asst. principals already make disproportionately more money than most educators in our school system, even before the bonuses.

3. The budget includes about $400,000 dollars to fund positions created with GRANT MONEY. The rule of thumb is “when the grant money ends, the position ends.” Period. How many of these positions are superfluous “middle management” jobs? For example, Math or English Language Arts (ELA) “coaches” do not interact with children but with trained teachers. One teacher told an ELA coach pointblank – she didn’t need help planning lessons, what she needed was books for her students to read.

4. The school board ONLY asked for an additional $4 per student for textbooks. Over the past 3 years the amount of county money going towards classroom instructional supplies and textbooks has fallen drastically from $1.8M to $1.1M – this is a 35% decrease in classroom materials funding.

5. County property tax dollars will fund a PAC, the School Boards Association Action Center, which may lobby to support school bureaucracies and candidates, not students’ best interests. Local school boards are more effective lobby groups for local education concerns.

Sales tax revenues are expected to increase due to changes in the laws and retail expansion like the Asheville Outlets. This means excess sales tax dollars flowing into the capital project and construction funds could be easily diverted to the classroom and to correcting these funding inequities. Will our school board and county commissioners make teaching and learning a budget priority? Education is the path out of poverty; we cannot continue passing children from one grade to the next who are functionally illiterate and math incompetent.

Buncombe School Board Hired Marxist, Former Lesbianism 101 Teacher

The current school board members (Ann Franklin, Pat Bryant, Dusty Pless and Chip Craig) who hired Math Curriculum Specialist, Margaret Small, in 2009 refused to answer questions last week. According to journalist and investigative reporter Robert Stacy McCain, Dr. Small never taught math but had a background in Political Science and Women’s Studies. She received a doctorate of Math Education from the University of Illinois where education professor and communist founder of Weather Underground, Bill Ayers, taught. Dr. Small retired from BCS one week after McCain’s article came out.

‘The Kite Runner’ Hearing is open to the public and will occur on June 16, 2015 at 8:30am in the Board of Education Auditorium at 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC. Academic standards are being eroded as classic literature is replaced with sexually explicit novels written at low reading levels.

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