Will Changes in OCS Leadership Bring Real Change?

The new board of the Orange County Schools was recently sworn into office. At their very first meeting, the three new board members joined with one of the standing members to vote out the old board chair and vice-chair. They were replaced by two newly-elected members, but the new chairs are far from new to Orange County Schools.

The new board chair is Steve Halkiotis, a former county commissioner and someone who spent his entire professional career in the Orange County Schools, working his way up from teacher to assistant superintendent. The new vice-chair is Tony McKnight, himself also a former OCS teacher.

These changes come less than a year after Pat Rhodes became the district’s superintendent, and like Halkiotis and McKnight he also has previous experience in Orange County.

So we have plenty of new leadership, but I’m wondering if they’ll take our district in any new directions. Can three leaders so tied to the district’s past bring innovative solutions to our contemporary challenges?

Library branches return to normal hours

Here's some good news: the library is reinstating their original hours. They cut them a few weeks ago, with the reductions at the Carrboro branch (a.k.a. McDougle School) being especially drastic. Here's the County's press release:

Hours of operation for all Orange County Public Libraries will be reinstated beginning July 28, 2008.  County and Library management have re-visited the departmental budget and identified certain purchases to be delayed until next fiscal year and a reduction in monies budgeted for inventory replacement.  These adjustments will generate funds sufficient to cover the temporary personnel costs for hours of operation at the Main Library and its branches.  Please note these changes.


For additional information visit the Orange County Library website http://www.co.orange.nc.us/library/orange/ or call (919) 245-2525.  

The problem with downtown

I just drove through Eastgate, and and wow that place is really coming together. It looks quite nice and there are lots of appealing businesses there. However, almost none of them are locally owned. WomanCraft seems to be the only local business there now. I would so much prefer to spend my money at a business that supports the local economy and supports our downtown. I started to think about why our downtown is starting to struggle after so many years of vitality.

No, it's not the panhandlers, lack of parking, or drunk students. I think It's the landlords. Or at least some landlords, most notably Spencer Young who is actively driving tenants away from The Courtyard while piling on loans that he apparently can't pay, and Joe Riddle who is responsible for at least two empty store fronts and a vacant lot on Franklin Street. Riddle is a developer who lives in Fayetteville. He was arrested on felony drug charges in 2005, and he currently owns several properties in Northside and downtown Chapel Hill worth a total tax value of $1,795,460 (according to Orange County GIS).

More racist attacks on Chapel Hill employee

I really can't understand the Town's seemingly mild response to racist graffiti discovered at the Town Operations Center.  Given that there have been no consequences for the previous incident, it's not surprising that the hateful vandal struck again last week.

Chapel Hill Police are investigating the first incident and have not charged anyone. Town Manager Roger Stancil has said the culprit could be fired.

- newsobserver.com:  Racist graffiti found in Chapel Hill offices, 7/10/08

How the hell does this happen? And what does the manager mean "the culprit could" be fired? Under what circumstances would you not fire an employee who publicly directs hate speech at another employee?

Glen Lennox developer to Town: "just kidding!"

I still can't decide which of Clay Grubb's statements is more ridiculous: the description of Glen Lennox as "in decline" (how does he think it got that way?) or last month's admission that his proposal to redevelop the property was "done hastily" and wasn't really a very good idea. A month ago, I was open to the idea of at least some changes in Glen Lennox, but at this point I kinda want to put a moratorium on development until we can convince the guy to just sell the whole thing.

The president of Grubb Properties said Wednesday night that his company's initial plans to redevelop the Glen Lennox neighborhood and shopping center failed to respect the community's character.

"I do not think the plan was sensitive to the history of Glen Lennox. I apologize," Clay Grubb told the Chapel Hill Town Council. "That was a plan that was done hastily."



Content license

Creative Commons License
All content on OrangePolitics is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.


Donate to OP

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.