In a worst-case scenario, the state could close North Rowan High
By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó The president of the North Rowan High PTA encouraged Spencer residents Tuesday to make sure local leaders know they’re dissatisfied with what’s taking place at the school.
“We’re in a crisis, people, we’re in a crisis,” Corinne Mauldin told members of the Spencer Board of Aldermen during the group’s monthly meeting.
She addressed board members during a public comment session.
Mauldin said North’s capacity is 1,130 students, though its current enrollment is only 666. The school is on Gov. Mike Easley’s Watch List for under-performing schools, the only one in Rowan County so designated.
Mauldin said that in a worst-case scenario, the state could close the school if improvements aren’t made.
Because North’s enrollment has dropped to the point that it’s now 1A, the Cavaliers have been reclassified to a distant athletic conference. Mauldin said that when school opens this fall, North’s closest conference foe will be an hour’s drive away.
To reach the playing fields of its most distant opponent will require a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride, she said.
“This is a tragedy that our county has allowed this to happen,” Mauldin told aldermen and a large number of Spencer residents at the meeting.
She said that when the local school district was redistricted two years ago (before the current Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education was in place), the only line redrawn at the last minute pulled 100 students from North’s ranks.
Had those students remained at North, the school would still be competing in the Central Carolina 2A Conference that includes more local opponents.
“I think it’s a travesty that our school board sends a message that they don’t care,” Mauldin said.
She encouraged town residents and other North supporters to attend school board meetings to make sure members are aware of their displeasure with the school’s situation.
“We have to start showing up at school board meetings,” Mauldin said. “We cannot stand this unfairness and inequity anymore.”
She said she’d spoken recently to a builder who said he could no longer construct nice houses in Spencer because no families want to live there because of the school situation.
Mauldin said she’d spoken with numerous state officials who told her that the issue was a local one. “State law prevents them from coming in and overriding things done on a local level,” she said.
Mauldin said she’d spoken with school board members who told her that redistricting is out of the question. “It wasn’t two years ago when Carson (High) was built,” she said.
“I want people to get angry,” Mauldin continued.
She said her dissatisfaction is justified.
“What are we getting in return for our tax money?” Mauldin asked. “We’re not getting our money’s worth.”
She concluded with, “It’s time North Rowan counts,” a comment that prompted a round of applause.
Aldermen didn’t comment. They typically don’t respond to comments made during a public comment session.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.