Council to seek probe of Peel, Olson on charter school effort

By Jon Hawley

Staff Writer

11 Comments | Leave a Comment

Elizabeth City City Council took the first step Monday toward pursuing an independent investigation into Mayor Joe Peel and City Manager Rich Olson’s use of city resources seeking a charter school.

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The modern day Luddites. Does that describe those who seek to punish the Mayor as he works to improve education opportunities for our young people. Why do they wish to deprive our children of the technical education that is required for the modern day workplace. Good paying jobs are available to those with the technical training and skills that the modern workplace requires. A local STEM school, focused on aviation would provide our kids with an opportunity to learn valuable skills that are required for employment in aviation, or other technical fields. If working towards a better school for young people is not a legitimate function of the Mayor and staff; then what is? In my opinion our public schools should graduate people that are prepared to be productive citizens and earn their way in the world. More burger flippers are not required. We cannot have industry here if our students are not equipped with the technical education that employers require. High-tech manufacturing and aircraft maintenance is the path to a higher standard of living for everyone in our community. The students are the customers of the education system. They are not gaining the knowledge required by the modern workplace. Taxpayers are not receiving value commensurate with the cost. Turning out graduates with a sheepskin but no marketable skill is not a path to success. Germany is an industrial powerhouse with a significantly positive balance of trade. Their education system turns out citizens qualified to work in their productive society. Whether the technical education is the chicken or egg does not matter. Both education and industry are required to produce a higher standard of living for the entire country. Can we not learn from the German success? Aviation may be the biggest payroll in the area but most of the employees have learned their skills elsewhere and are not a product of our local school systems. Would it not be better if our local kids could receive a suitable education right here at home? Would we rather import qualified employees while our own kids remain unemployable? A successful society requires educated citizens who are prepared to be productive and sustain the civilization. We live in a highly technical world and if not technically educated we cannot compete in the world economy. Graduates of the public education system are largely not prepared for that challenge. For those that choose to take advantage; the STEM school could change that.

witch hunt

Do I smell retaliation instigated from someone with no seat?


It took what - less than two months - and members of our "new" Council are up to the same old tricks! Amazing! Forget the Charter School issue ... be for or against that idea ... it no longer matters. But we should ALL be for a "new" City Council that works for our City - for ALL our citizens. One would hope that with Johnnie Walton now out of the mix, our Council would work together on our City's problems - finding new, decent paying jobs, providing a solid education for all our young people and making our neighborhoods safer. Basically, what ALL the new Council candidates discussed in their campaigns. But noooo, our Council is now sidetracked with a potential investigation that serves NO practical purpose. Michael Brooks (here we go again...) simply wants to try to embarrass our Mayor and our City Manager. We have serious problems in our little City. We need serious representatives to solve them. No rational thinking person can argue that this investigation will in any way help move Elizabeth City forward. Less than two months into our new Council's term, and they are already disappointing. Regards, Bill Hiemer

How to fix the Pasquotank County Schools

It’s pretty easy to fix the Pasquotank County schools (but the administration and school board will not listen). Most other school systems have figured it out. I am not quite sure why the ECPPS still has their head stuck in the sand. What the ECPPS needs is an “early college” type of program where students can take college courses while still in high school.

I am not talking about students taking a course here and there but an entire program dedicated to this purpose. Most every other local school system has some type of specific program like this. Most are located in a separate location from the regular high school. These are some examples: Currituck - J.P. Knapp Early College program, Camden-CamTech program, Edenton-Chowan has a program at JA Holmes, Hertford County has the Hertford County Early College. If these school systems have a specific program designated for this purpose why doesn’t the Pasquotank County School system?

What are the Pasquotank County schools doing to develop top notch students and encouraging them to go to college. Answer: nothing.

College of the Albemarle is located in Pasquotank County so how is it that these other school systems can develop successful partnerships with COA (or other community colleges) but the Pasquotank County Schools can’t?

You build a successful school sytem from the top down. Your school and the public perception of the school is only as good as the top students in that school and the public perception of how successful the top students are. The lack of a specific program for the "top notch" students is one of the reasons that many parents of “top notch” students will do anything they can to not enroll their child in the Pasquotank County schools. Just ask any Military family or Doctor that moves to the area. They will tell you. Its not a secret. It’s a widely known fact.

If you build an early college type of program for the "top notch" students you will be surprised how successful the school system will become in a short period of time. Of course parents of Pasquotank County students will never know because the Pasquotank County school leaders still have their heads stuck in the sand.


Rome is burning and they want to argue procedures. Look around, this is not the same city that it was only ten years ago. Poverty levels skyrocketing, the upper and middle class leaving in droves. Property over 200K is not selling. Property values are tumbling. No new jobs that pay over minimum wage are moving in. None of the youth that go away to college are returning. It is all centered around the quality of schools. Let's see what people who look into the area see: It is easy to see the schools are broken. Do the numbers tell the whole truth? No, but it is the face of what is keeping the city back. If this trend is not fixed we will start to loose more businesses some small like The Pines Country Club and some large like the hospital. Then we'll see all of this arguing for what it is petty and blind to the problem.

so whats new?

Same old same old in the River City. The Mayor was a little too pushy in his Charter School. ECSU through no fault of their own lost out on the Aviation school at ECSU/COA. COA found a way to provide with the generous help of Currituck Co. They are a FAA Approved school that Anyone over 16 in High School can go to. The Charter School is not needed. All the Mayor is guilty of is not talking to City Council and the school board first. Instead of going after someone who has made a mistake in judgement, maybe you should try to educate them on the proper way of going about things. Everybody enjoy your snowy day off.

charter school

I am a public school teacher. I pay taxes in Elizabeth City. Let us please put race aside and consider what is being questioned. Why is Mayor Peel promoting charter schools during this difficult time in education in North Carolina? Tax monies that could be funding public schools are being diverted to fund vouchers for 'poor' families to attend a school of their choice. A $4200 voucher will not pay tuition for a charter school. A truly 'poor' family will likely be unable to pay the remaining tuition. Who benefits from charter schools? That is the question that is important to me! Representative Steinburg would have us believe that public schools are broken. I content that until he has spent a great deal of time teaching in a public school he isn't in a position to make that statement. The facts are clear. Charter and private schools do NOT provide a better opportunity for anyone! He is ridiculously wrong. Why does Mayor Peel want a charter school? Please get an answer to that question. He was once the Superintendent of Elizabeth City Pasquotank County Public School. I doubt that he has currently done anything that is technically wrong. Olson would be sure of that. But Joe Peel needs to put his focus back on running the city to its best potential serving the citizens. If he wants to return to education so be it, but don't use my tax dollars to promote a charter school that may serve some (but it won't be the 'poor'). I believe he has gone off track from his true mission as Mayor.

"Public" Charter School

The STEM school proposed was PUBLIC! Any school child could apply The courses taught would be focused on developing a career path, something the COA should return to. Why should not a poor family have the same opportunities as President Obama's children and go to a private school? The public school does not have a monopoly on taxpayer money. The NAACP is seeking to waste the taxpayers money once more.

Here's the truth about the NAACP

An organization that seeks to drag others down to their level can never rise above its own ignorance.

NAACP History


Racisms ugly face is alive and well in the River City. Only the racism does not come from the persons with brains. Why does anyone, but the NAACP, think charter schools are not good for everyone? Could it be these guys could not pass any class in a class for smart students?

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