• 52°

There’s reason to take pride in schools

By Patty Overcash
For the Salisbury Post
As president of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ PTA Council, I have received numerous e-mails and phone calls concerning recent negative articles that appeared in the Salisbury Post about our school system. Many of these articles mislead the reader into thinking that our school administrators and our school board do not know how to do their jobs. This greatly concerns me. I have been involved with our school system for over 20 years, and I take pride in our schools and the work we have accomplished.
Do we not expect our leaders to gather their facts prior to bringing their ideas before the public? It takes little common sense to know that no action could be taken at a meeting that is not representative of a quorum. In addition, this small group:
Does NOT have a building plan, just footprint
Does NOT have a building agreement from the landowner.
Does NOT have funds for this project.
Is a new central office needed? Most definitely!
Savings: Tremendous savings would be immediately realized by combining all five central office locations into one location.
Space and Safety: Many items are stored in the second floor hallway at the Long Street Central Office location due to a lack of storage space. This makes it difficult to walk through the hallway, and it feels like the floor is caving in. This structure is almost 85 years old, while the Ellis Street Central Office location is approaching 100 years old, and both are in need of repairs ó not to mention the safety of the staff that work in these buildings.
Efficiency: Having one central office location would enable school administration to efficiently do the best job possible for our children!
In addressing our dropout rate, it is important to understand the percentages. In the past, to be considered a dropout you were someone who did not receive a diploma with your class. New studies now measure the dropout rate by determining how many students enter the ninth grade and then how many of those students walk across the stage and receive their diploma as seniors. Our dropout rate has shown a decrease over the past three years. Doesn’t that prove we are on the right track?
Every child is different, and not all students have the resources, grades or desires for a college education. This is not the fault of the school system, nor does it mean that students did not receive a good education and face a lifetime of diminished wages and government assistance. If we had cookie-cutter children in our county, children with two parents involved in their education, a nice home, proper clothes to wear, food to eat, and we all spoke one language, college still might not be the right option for everyone. What about our construction workers, plumbers, repairmen, store clerks, cooks, and God bless the special people who pick up our garbage every day? Where would we be without them and the hundreds of other people who help us each day, and they do it without a college degree!
To clarify the overcrowding concerns at Koontz Elementary, 580 students are enrolled with a capacity of 616 students, and approximately 75 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. Speak with Dr. Bob Heffern, principal at Koontz, and he will tell you overcrowding is not an issue. Our school system has provided Koontz with extra teacher positions, thus reducing the class sizes. Dr. Heffern is doing a great job by utilizing every inch of space at Koontz for enrichment classes and giving the children extra help when needed.
Building new schools continues to be a top priority. Our county is rapidly growing, while land value continues to increase. Since land is a solid investment, does it not make sense to purchase land now before prices escalate?
Our school board members work hard and do a good job. My husband previously sat on the school board, and I know the amount of time and effort that school board members put into serving our students. They should be commended, not reprimanded.
Our school system is fortunate to have a wonderful team of school board members, a superintendent, assistant superintendents, administrators, principals, assistant principals, school office staff, central office staff, maintenance workers, cafeteria staff, teachers, teacher assistants, custodians, nurses and bus drivers. We are a team of people who love our school system and all of the children we serve each day. Why not put on a “Rowan County School System” jersey and join our team? Then we would all be putting our children first!
– – –
Patty Overcash is president of the Rowan-Salisbury PTA Council.

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