Craven County Commissioner’s will meet at 11 a.m. today (March 15) during a work session in which they will seek state approval to restore partisan elections to the county School Board. The meeting will be held at New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. The draft resolution seeks state legislation to enable partisan elections at the school board level. They say that current non-partisan elections have low voter turnout and withhold party affiliation that may be useful to voters. Longtime school board member Carr Ipock posted a history of school board elections. It is reposted here with his permission: “Many, many years ago, the Craven County BoardRead More →

The Craven County Board of Education announced the resignation ofBoard of Education member Beatrice Smith. Smith resigned her position to enable her to take the seat on the Craven County Board of Commissioners that was vacated upon the death of Commissioner Johnnie Sampson Jr. In receiving Smith’s resignation on Monday, School Board Chairman Frances Boomer said, “I am deeply grateful for the service of Mrs. Beatrice Smith to the children of Craven County Schools, and most especially to the families she served from District 4. Beatrice Smith is a wise and committed leader who will serve our community and the values of public education withRead More →

Five people applied for the Craven County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat left open with the death of Johnnie Sampson Jr. in early November, including one who was endorsed by the Craven County Democratic Party. Casting aside that endorsement, the Board of Commissioners, which has five Republicans, one Democrat, and Sampson’s vacant seat, went with someone else. The board chose Craven County School Board Member Beatrice Riggs Smith, who will be sworn in at the first Board of Commissioners meeting in January. Smith is a lifelong educator and was the first Black school principal in post-segregation Craven County. When she takes the oath inRead More →

Craven County School Board Member Beatrice Riggs Smith was selected by the Craven County Board of Commissioners to fill the District 3 seat held by the late Johnnie Sampson, Jr., who died of COVID-19-related pneumonia on Nov. 5, 2020.  Smith, who was the first black female to hold a principalship in the integrated Craven County Schools system, is the first black female Craven County Commissioner. Smith was selected at the Dec. 14, 2020 Board of Commissioners work session and will be sworn in at the regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. “Mrs. Smith brings a wealth of knowledge, as a member of the CravenRead More →

With the passing of Craven County Commissioner Johnnie Sampson Jr. from complications of COVID-19, state law dictates that it will fall to his fellow board members to select someone to fill his seat on the board. The board, which is Republican-majority, must select a Democrat to replace Sampson, who was a Democrat. The successor must be chosen within 60 days from Nov. 5, the date of Commissioner Sampson’s death, and also reside in the same district, District 3, shown in purple in the map below. Here is the law (relevant portions shown in bold type): § 153A-27. Vacancies on the board of commissioners. (a) IfRead More →

Craven County Commissioner Johnnie Sampson Jr. died at 9:03 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, of complications from COVID-19, which he had been battling for about a month. Craven County Board of Commissioners required to select Sampson’s successor.More Commissioner Sampson, 87, was tested Oct. 5 and the test came back positive the same day. He and his wife of more than 60 years, the Rev. Ethel Sampson, were both hospitalized in their battle against COVID-19. They had been discharged but Commissioner Sampson took a turn for the worse and was battling both COVID-19 and pneumonia. Craven County hosted a moment of silence at 2 p.m., onRead More →

Craven County Commissioner Johnnie Sampson Jr. and the Rev. Ethel Sampson are both hospitalized in a battle against COVID-19. New Bern Alderman Sabrina Bengel revealed the Sampsons’ situation during her videoblog program, CityTalk, on Friday morning. No other details were available. Craven County has 280 active cases as of today, with 18 Craven County residents hospitalized for COVID-19 related reasons. There have been no deaths reported over the past 24 hours, and the total stands at 48, the highest death toll of the eight-county region in and around Craven County. Craven County has had 1,866 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic reached its borderRead More →

Two elected boards—the Craven County Board of Commissioners and the Craven County Board of Education—will meet sometime after Sept. 17 to discuss concerns over the COVID-19 remote learning plan that is in place for Craven County Schools for the first nine weeks of the school year. The meeting was precipitated by the Board of Commissioners, which asked for the meeting when Republican members of the board questioned the necessity to keep children out of the classroom. As COVID-19 has spread in Craven County, it has become a partisan issue over whether to restrict businesses, close schools, and even wear masks. Craven County has 1,289 lab-confirmedRead More →

A Craven County Schools employee has tested positive for COVID-19. Three others tested positive last week at Creekside Elementary. The location of this new case was not given. The school system backed away from in-person classes and chose online-only classes for the first nine weeks of the semester. Only faculty and staff have been on campus while school is in session. Craven County Schools follows guidance from the Craven County Department of Health (CCHD), North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure the safety of all staff and students during the pandemic. “We have beenRead More →

Twin Rivers YMCA is offering remote learning camps at five Craven County school sites to assist families challenged by the district’s Plan C-remote learning system during the first 9 weeks of the new school year due to COVID-19. During the Aug. 18, 2020 presentation to the Board of Education, some members were not present and action was tabled until all could be present for the discussion. No action was taken by the Board of Education at the Board of Education Work Session or the Board of Education meeting on Aug. 20, 2020. “Our district leadership and staff are charged by the state through our roadmapRead More →