Gurley: Grades need improving

Published 10:29 pm Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Staff Writer

Mary Gurley, a write-in candidate seeking election to the Beaufort County Board of Education, said if she is elected she wants to focus on decreasing the dropout rate in the county’s schools.
Gurley is challenging E.C. Peed, the School District 2 representative on the school board.
Gurley said she would like to accomplish many things if she is elected to the Beaufort County Board of Education. One of those things is improving students’ grades.
“I would like to see the children’s grades come up,” she said. “Because I know they’ve made progress over the last four years, and I would just like to see that increase. And they’ve gotten the graduation rate up to 82.1 percent. But we still have 17.9 percent of children out there that’s not in school.”
Gurley added that she would like to be able to talk with those students and find out what the school board and the community can do to get that 17.9-percent back in school and graduated.
“Another thing I would like to accomplish is to get homegrown teachers that go off, but would like to come back to their hometown to teach,” Gurley said. “And be a part of the community.”
If elected, Gurley said, she would work to change the pattern of communication between school-board members and the community.
“One thing that really stands out to me is a communication gap between the school board, the parents, the community and, especially, the children,” she said. “And I would like to close that gap, to get their parents back involved in their children’s lives and school.”
Because she has not served on the Beaufort County Board of Education in 16 years, Gurley said she would like the school board to go in another direction.
“But first, I would need to know the direction it is going in now,” she said. “I am not up on everything that is going on in the schools at this time, so I would need to visit the approach of how things are going now before I can make a concrete decision on where it should go.”
Gurley served on the Beaufort County Board of Education when it was deciding where to locate Southside High School on the south side of the Pamlico River. Chocowinity and Aurora high schools combined to form Southside High School.