ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–The state senate has cut the funds needed to run the state’s Governor’s School from next year’s budget.
Teachers and students say eliminating the program will have negative impacts on young scholars.
Jacksonville High School seniors Alan Davila and Sailor Drum attended the Governor’s School program last year.
“For m, it kind of solidified what I thought I wanted to do originally and it definitely gave me a better understanding of what that may be like,” Davila said.
“For it to be cut, I feel like that is so bad for so many students because it’s such a great environment,” Drum said.
Both say it had lasting impacts on their future.
In its budget proposal, the senate has redirected the $800,000 needed to run the program.
Instead, it wants to create a new program called the Legislative School for Leadership and Public Service.
Senator Harry Brown (R-Onslow) said the decision to do this came out of a desire to keep the funds in the UNC system.
He says the Governor’s School is currently run by private entities instead of the state university system.
“We felt like if it was going to be a state funded program, it should be through the UNC system,” Sen. Brown said. “We redirected those funds to a program with a STEM focus, which should be a higher focus in our school systems today, and a leadership focus because that is how it should be anyway.”
The NC Association for the Gifted and Talented said in a statement to WNCT:
“For over 50 years, Governor’s School has enriched academic and artistic pursuits for public school students, and cannot survive without public funding. Considering there is currently a $580 million revenue surplus, North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented is requesting that members of the North Carolina House develop a budget that continues funding Governor’s School.”
Orchestra director at the high school, Joli Brooks, attended Governor’s School in the 1970s.
“When you talk to people that have been to Governor’s School, whether they were there in the 60s, 70s like I did or whether they’re going today, the story that I get back over and over again is that it is a unique experience and it is a life-changing experience,” Brooks said. “It is a watershed event for the students that go.”
The five-week summer program is open to rising seniors. Students apply in areas of art, music, theater, English, math and natural sciences.
The school produces students who become leaders and innovators in the state. Fewer than 700 students are chosen for the honor each year; 13 last year in Onslow County, 8 this year.