Carteret County Board of Education has decided to close an early college program.
Board members called for a special meeting Thursday afternoon to consider funding MaST otherwise known as Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School.
High school students are able to receive college credit and certifications.
In a 4-3 vote, board members decided to cut the program due to funding. The program runs on state and county dollars.
Board members discussed for about 45 minutes whether state funding would be approved for the early college program for the upcoming school year.
Board member Travis Day said “the decision on state funding will likely not be confirmed until well after the school year starts.”
Melissa Ehlers, a board member who was absent in Thursday’s special meeting argued extra time was necessary to make a decision on whether to close the program or not.
“The decision to close down MaST is premature based on incomplete information. I can see no further harm in waiting to allow for a clearer picture.”
Monday night, county commissioners voted to keep the money allocated for MaST to be used towards teaching positions in the county. Day said last year county commissioners agreed to fund the program with the assumption state funding was going to be provided.
Day argued the delay of the decision would affect the hiring of teachers.
With uncertainty and guarantee on state funding this year, a majority of board members voted to cut the program.
Parents and students packed the Carteret County Schools administration building with signs protesting to keep MaST open. Many said they are furious with the decision.
“They have failed our children in this county in my opinion,” said parent Lindsay Webb.
No public comment was allowed during Thursday’s meeting.
100 students were enrolled in MaST.
Some parents say they will result to homeschooling this upcoming school year.