JOHNSTON COUNTY – The Johnston County Public School Board received an additional $7.9 million monday night. Johnston County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the funding.
In June, Johnston County Commissioners withheld $7.9 million of the school’s $79.9 million request until they could adopt a policy preventing the teaching of Critical Race Theory, or CRT, in public school classrooms.
The school board held a special session Friday, October 1st and voted 6-to-0 to adopt a new policy. School board member Kay Carroll was absent.
Monday night, Commissioner Fred Smith made a motion to give the school board the additional $7.9 million.
School board chairman Todd Sutton was present at the commission meeting. He spoke during the public comments section after the vote.
“Thank you for funding our school system and I believe this is the first time in history, or many many years, that the school system has been fully funded on a capital outlay as well as our general budget. Our students and our staff thank you for what you do and we appreciate you giving us the opportunity to work on this and come back and provide something to you that we can all work with moving forward,” Sutton said.
Don’t Let Us Down
County Commission Chairman Chad Stewart responded, “Me and you and (Superintendent) Dr. Bracy and your finance team, Mr. Hester and his finance team worked very hard on this budget this year and as you have noted we have fully funded capital and current expense. Now, don’t let us down.”
Sutton replied, “Yes sir. Dr. Bracy has got a great plan as you all know and …we have full faith Dr. Bracy and his leadership team can get us to the goals he had set out for Johnston County and that is something the entire board is in favor of and we will be moving in that direction to make sure Johnston County is back where it suppose to be in the top 10.”
Stewart said, “As you know, the citizens are very well paying for it.”
Sutton said, “Yes sir. And they are going to see some different results.”
School board member Ronald Johnson who drafted the policy approved by the school board October 1st spoke after Chairman Sutton.
“This money is going to go to help some of our lowest paid employees. And that’s where it needs to go,” Mr. Johnson said.
Commissioners Did The Right Thing, CAAG Founder Says
Dale Lands, founder Citizen Advocates for Accountable Government, told commissioners the school system needs to get back to the basics.
“Just teach regular history, regular math, teach the kids to read. That’s what we want ’em to do. Dr. Bracy has promised he will make them successful. We will have to give him that opportunity. I would like to thank Ron Johnson for crafting this originally and working with the policy committee to get it to the point that it is now.”
“This was all brought to Chairman Sutton in June and he didn’t seem to be able to come up with a policy that would work. So thanks to all the commissioners that worked on it,” Lands said. “I want to thank everyone that made it get done. Thank you for doing the right thing for the county but… this wouldn’t have happened if you wouldn’t have been holding up 7.9 million dollars. This flat out wouldn’t have happened. They wouldn’t have even entertained the idea. And there are times when some forms of government have to hold their counterparts accountable. And you guys did your job as far as this county is concerned and you held your counterparts at the school board accountable for the money that you are handing over that we paid as taxpayers.”
JCAE President Expresses Disappointment
April Lee, President of the Johnston County Association of Educators said, “I am going to express my disappointment and the leverage that you used.. It’s wrong. It may not be legally wrong, we’re looking into that, but it is ethically wrong and I think all of you on this board know that.”
“I hope you never employ this policy again, this tactic and this method is never used again. It is not how our local government was supposed to be done and it is a disappointment,” Lee told county commissioners.
“There were some of you who expressed your concerns back in June. I wish you had stuck to your guns and not caved and it very sad that although some people are represented as far as being satisfied with this, I do not believe that it actually is something that most of the people here in Johnston County support.”
Parent Says Commissioners Are Afraid Of Teaching Children The Truth
Erika Hall of Clayton, who has two children in Johnston County Public Schools, had some harsh words for county commissioners.
“I am here today to tell you that CRT, or critical race theory, is not taught in the Johnston County public school system. CRT is always conducted at the graduate and undergraduate levels to examine the role of racism in the modern era. This term is like fodder in a political debate, nothing more and nothing less. That is how CRT is being used in this county right now.
“Our teachers should be able to work with the educational stakeholders of this county to consider what is being taught in the classroom and what isn’t. The community, parents, lawmakers and verifiable researchers can chime in afterward. It is public knowledge that local conservative activists help influence the policy you requested to be written and it clearly reflects only their beliefs. They are the loud minority and not the majority of your constituents.
“These said citizens did not earn any degree or take humanities, social sciences or cultural courses. I ask the members of this board and the citizens of Johnston County that are opposed to the ugly facts about American history, why are you so afraid of teaching our children the truth. These children are our future.”
“Do you not think we should instill the essence of transparency about the tragic paths of our African American, Hispanic, Asian and indigenous brothers and sisters. I know some of you are not ready for this conversation yet and maybe never will be. The time is here. That cannot be stopped. It is time to swallow your willful ignorance and be the leading and honest example for the children,” Hall said.
Some of the $7.9 million the school board will receive will go towards higher bus driver pay, a teacher supplement increase and more teacher assistants in low performing schools.
This story has been updated