BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — There’s still debate over Brunswick County Schools deciding to change school start times once again.
One school board member got a little heated about the decision to switch back to a traditional schedule at a recent meeting.
“I’m tired of hearing about the sleep studies,” School Board member Catherine Cooke said at a Parent Advisory Council meeting in Southport last week. “I’ll tell you that right now: If I hear about another sleep study, you don’t want to say that around me.”
Cooke has two children who attend Brunswick County schools, while another is home schooled and a fourth attends private school. She was one of the first people to bring up banning the book “The Color Purple” from classrooms.
Last week Cooke was one of three Brunswick County School Board members to vote to switch schedules again this fall and return the district to traditional start times. A day later she went off during the PAC meeting.
“The people want traditional time. We’re going to do a traditional time,” she said.
But Cooke admits she and other board members did not fully understand the reversal would cost the school system more than $1.7 million in the first year alone and could cost 60 full time bus drivers their jobs.
“We did not have the full picture of what the ramifications were going to be for the bus drivers and for any other workers that were involved in the transportation,” Cooke said today.
But money was not the only target of her wrath. Cooke last week also fired off at parents complaining about dealing with changing schedules. She even took a shot at the district’s free lunch and breakfast program for needy kids.
“We’ve got free breakfast for everybody in the world,” she said. “Am I gonna be able to go to school and say, ‘Can I have free breakfast too?’ How many things… I mean are we just gonna give everybody everything? Why don’t we just let them sleep here at school, too? We can feed ’em, educate ’em, give ’em dinner, let them sleep here! Just live at the school!”
Tuesday Cooke tempered her perspective.
“If they qualify for it, that’s fine,” she said. “But it’s just gotten to be where we give everybody everything, and it’s everything on a silver platter.
Cooke says the school board does not know where it will get the money to pay for the extra transportation costs, but she says she has some ideas.