UPDATE: School board suspends committee to alter Williston

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – The New Hanover County School Board will hold off on any changes to Williston Middle School. That announcement made Tuesday night by school board members.

The board unanimously decided to suspend the Williston Exploratory Committee after the direction of vice-chair David Wortman.

”We has to have the specific Williston community buy into the idea. We’ve heard from the Williston community and we’ve heard from faculty and staff from Williston and they’re happy with the way Williston is right now as a traditional middle school,” Wortman said.

A month ago, he announced at the school board meeting that they would look at changing Williston to be a high school centered around the arts. Since then, multiple committee meetings, and several public input sessions later, the idea is on hold.

Wortman says the committee changed the original idea from a school of the arts to one that also included business and vocational curriculums. The school also would be reconfigured to be a 6-12 magnet school. Wortman says the county is still supportive of a change to better Williston. However, alumni remain that the process should go slower.

“I think they’re being too hasty,” said alum E.B. Davis Sr. “I think it was put in the table without a lot of preparations.”

Now a new issue arises for Williston.

“My fear moving forward is that it’s easy to sweep things under the rug and forget about them,” said 8th grade teacher Bobby Garcia.

The debate to change Williston awoke another to keep it in the public spotlight and maintain a mission of improving the school physically and academically.

“I think there should be a citizen committee of concerned citizens and parents and the PTA and then see where we can go from there,” said Davis.

Wortman said it’s not the end of the conversation.

“I still believe that we need to do something with Williston.”

Those who want to see the school succeed and benefit the community around it like Mr. Garcia, agree that something needs to be done.

“To stop it here and call it a day it’s a disservice to the Williston community,” said Garcia
“It’s key to build on those relationships to try to find some real solutions.”

By Cammie Bellamy, StarNews Staff

WILMINGTON, NC (StarNews) — New Hanover County’s school board is stepping back from a proposal to remake Williston Middle School into a magnet 6-12 school, according to one member.

In January, while members were discussing ongoing middle school redistricting, board Vice-chairman David Wortman pitched a plan to add an arts-focused high school to Williston.

After push-back from the community, the board formed a Williston Exploratory Committee, which looked into alternative ideas like a vocational high school at Williston.

Click here to read more at StarNewsOnline.com

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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