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North loses appeal; will step down to Class 1A

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
SPENCER ó North Rowan High School will be playing in a distant 1A athletic conference in a couple of years.
Representatives of the N.C. High School Athletic Association announced Friday afternoon that the group’s realignment committee has denied the school’s appeal to remain a 2A school.
“The committee was very consistent on this. You play where you fall,” said Rick Strunk, associate executive director of the Athletic Association.
Barring an unforeseen turn of events, in the fall of 2009, North will begin playing in a 1A conference that primarily includes schools from Chatham, Montgomery and Moore counties.
North based its appeal on “extreme geographical hardship.” Chatham Central, one of the schools in its new conference, is 83 miles from North.
Some of North’s backers pushed to overturn the realignment. They asked for permission for the Cavaliers to “play up” to the larger Central Carolina 2A Conference, of which the school is now a member.
Friday’s decision is the second time the Athletic Assocation has denied North’s appeal. School backers argued the same issue in February.
Strunk said the only recourse the school now has is to appeal the matter to the High School Athletic Association’s board of directors. But he said appeals to the board must be based on procedural errors, mistakes the realignment committee strives not to make.
Members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education passed a resolution earlier this week supporting efforts to reverse the realignment of North Rowan.
Members of North Rowan’s PTA have noted that the school is on Gov. Mike Easley’s High School Turnaround Program. The school was placed on the list due to a high number of students scoring below level on end-of-grade tests.
Should the school not raise test scores, the state may take further steps to rectify the situation. North’s backers say that pulling student-athletes out of school early in the day for long trips to distant road sites can’t help test scores improve.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.

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