Redistricting on agenda for Monday school board meeting
By Kathy Chaffin
Two representatives of an educational consulting company from N.C. State University will be at Monday afternoon’s special meeting of the Rowan-Salisbury School Board to present a report of their feasibility study on redistricting the high schools.
The presentation by Jeff Tsai and Tom Cook of OR/Ed (Operations Research and Education Laboratory) is among the agenda items for the 5 p.m. meeting. The board had already retained OR/Ed on another matter so there was no additional fee for the redistricting feasibility study.
OR/Ed uses mathematical techniques and state-of-the-art Decision Science applications to assist school districts dealing with difficult school reassignments and school planning challenges. By approaching projects quantitatively as well as qualitatively, the consultants provide school planning solutions that are driven by data and supported by policies.
The high school redistricting feasibility study stemmed from growing concern about the decreasing enrollment at North Rowan High School, which has led to the facility being underutilized and the school’s athletic teams being moved from a 2A to a 1A conference next year. At present, North and Salisbury High are in the same 2A conference, and the county’s other four high schools are in a 3A conference.
Rowan-Salisbury School Board members discussed the possibility of redistricting the high schools at their March 9 meeting. Chairman Jim Emerson said he didn’t like the situation of North being moved to a 1A conference, but added that he didn’t dislike it enough to redistrict.
“There are 95 other 1A schools in the state,” he said. “It’s just an issue for North because there aren’t other 1As nearby.”
Board member Karen Carpenter said there was no pressing need for redistricting as none of the high schools are over capacity at this time. “We have discussed making all our high schools look similar in terms of diversity,” she said, “but we do not have data as to household makeups to help us structure that redistricting.”
North and Salisbury high schools have a higher percentage of African-American students than the other high schools.
Board member Gene Miller said the level of growth in Rowan County does not justify redistricting the high schools at this time.
The county, however, is likely to need a new elementary school in the southern part of the county by 2011 due to large birth rates in that area in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the renewal of Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom’s contract will be discussed during a closed session.
The school board meets in the Long Street Administrative Building at 110 S. Long St., East Spencer. The meetings are open to the public.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.