North Rowan PTA president appeals to commissioners

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
The president of the North Rowan High School PTA has appealed to county commissioners to correct educational inequities in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
Corinne Mauldin, who spoke to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education last week, called on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners Monday afternoon to open a dialogue with the school board and schools throughout the county to deal with inequities in funding, educational and athletic opportunities.
“We have very serious concerns,” said Mauldin, adding, “We are counting on you.”
Mauldin repeatedly cited the county’s contribution of 25 percent of the funding to the school system, saying commissioners have a responsibility to ensure that the money is distributed equitably throughout the system.
She talked about North Rowan, which has 666 students, the lowest number of any high school in the county. Mauldin said North is currently at 61 percent capacity, while other high schools in the county have mobile classrooms to deal with over-capacity.
“The school board should have redistricted,” said Mauldin, going on to cite the problems at North, including being the lowest-performing school of all county high schools. She emphasized that North students don’t have the same opportunities as students at other county schools.
She told commissioners the school’s at-risk status will take a three-year reform effort, which will require considerable additional county dollars.
Mauldin also cited the decision by the N.C. High School Athletic Association to move North from a 2A classification to 1A. North was 13 students shy of the number needed to stay in the 2A classification and compete against familiar schools.
Starting next school year, North’s team will have to travel long distances to compete, which will be an additional cost for fuel and a cost in lost school time, as students will have to leave early to reach the destinations.
“It’s a no-win situation because our school board did not do the right thing,” said Mauldin.
She noted that the mileage racked up by all of the school’sathletic teams will increase from 4,356 miles to 18,000 miles, a projected increase in transportation cost of $13,644.
Responding to questions from commissioners, Mauldin said the school will have stay in the 1A classification for at least two years.
She added that the North parents “don’t want a Band- Aid, a little antibiotic put on a festering sore. We want a solution.” She emphasized that the solution has to deal with educational opportunities as well as athletics and the bigger issue of inequities throughout the county.
“Make students who live close to our school come to our school,” said Mauldin.
Commissioner Jim Sides questioned whether school officials should have known that North would drop to 1A without additional students.
Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell, a teacher at East Rowan and athletic director, said it was no surprise. He noted that the N.C. High School Athletic Association uses the attendance on the 20th day of the school year prior to the realignment. He added that it’s been that way since the state association was formed.
Mauldin said the PTA plans to continue its efforts by speaking out at school board meetings and commissioners meetings.
“One weak link in the chain affects everybody. Everyone loses,” she said.
“Money is the huge issue for you guys. We will be back. All of our students must have the opportunity to be successful.”Chairman Arnold Chamberlain appeared to suggest the PTA may be on the right course, observing that sometimes it takes a squeaky wheel.