First ever ‘Pender County State of Education and Economy’ held in Burgaw


BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — It’s a first for Pender County. Thursday evening, a presentation was held to discuss the state of Pender County’s economy and education.

Educating the workforce of tomorrow. That’s what Pender Education Partnership president David Stipe says Pender County schools are doing.

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“Pender Education Partnership is hosting this event for the purpose of bringing closer attention to the needs of our teachers and staff and students in our schools,” said Stipe.

With more than 50 years experience in education under his belt, Stipe says he knows teachers and schools could be doing a better job if they had more resources.

“I’m a former educator, and I’ve had to dip into my pockets many many times to help fund projects that I want my students to be involved in,” said Stipe.

Stipe says teachers in Pender County are facing more than financial woes this year. Hurricane Florence left hundreds of students homeless, and teachers struggling to stay on track.

“The teachers are just trying to catch up. They lost over a month of school, and they still have state testing coming up in the spring,” he said.

Speaking of Florence, Pender County spent $9.3 million on hurricane-related expenses.

Assistant county manager Chad McEwen says despite that, things are looking good economically.

“Despite the hurricane-related expense, the state of the economy in the county, from a county standpoint, is very strong,” said McEwen. “Our audit has been recently completed and will be presented to our commissioners Monday night.”

Stipe says Pender Education Partnership, which is a non-profit, is looking for partners to help fund grants for teachers and scholarships for students.