• 43°

Commissioners seeking answers

By Jessie Burchette

Salisbury Post

Concerned about the failings of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, county commissioners want to hold a joint meeting with school board members.

Commissioners reacted strongly Monday night to the news last week that the school system is in the bottom 11 in the state in meeting federal No Child Left Behind standards on Adequate Yearly Progress.

Arnold Chamberlain, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, issued the invitation and said the meeting will include an opportunity for the public to speak — a chance for the public to vent. “I’ve been vented on enough,” Chamberlain said.

Another commissioner dubbed it “open-vent forum.”

Chamberlain took the opportunity to do a bit of venting, expressing his displeasure that commissioners had to learn about the state of the school system by reading the newspaper.

Chamberlain said school officials told him they didn’t “understand protocol,” and apologized for the lapse in communication.

“The school system must make sweeping changes immediately or the state will do it,” said Commissioner Tina Hall, a retired principal from the Rowan-Salisbury system.

“Somewhere in the past five years, our school system has lost its way,” Hall said.

Hall questioned why the school system didn’t choose to be honest and open about its failings and being in warning status for the past three years.

Hall said the largest single chunk of county tax dollars, $30 million, goes to the school system. “We are entitled to acceptable testing results.”

Commissioner Jim Sides ticked off the millions of dollars the school system has not spent, but amassed in a fund balance. Sides said the fund balance at the end of the past fiscal year was $8.2 million.

“We want the best school system. Let’s spend the money to educate the kids,” Sides said. While agreeing that the federal program may be flawed, Sides said all 118 systems in the state are judged by the same standards.

Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell and Commissioner Jon Barber, both teachers in the Rowan-Salisbury system, expressed support for Dr. Judy Grissom, superintendent.

Mitchell also criticized the No Child Left Behind program, saying he would prefer for the federal government to get out of education.

Mitchell and Barber joined other commissioners in supporting Chamberlain’s call for a joint meeting with the school board.

Chamberlain went further, suggesting there may need to be quarterly sessions. He emphasized the need for public discussion and input.

Chamberlain, who had previously appointed Hall and Barber as the liaisons to the school board, expanded the appointments.

He appointed the entire board of commissioners as liaisons to the school system.

Chamberlain asked County Manager Bill Cowan to arrange a meeting with the school board as soon as possible.

Polling other commissioners on when to hold the joint meeting, Sides said it could wait a few days. “The cat’s out of the bag now … do it after the first of the year,” he said.

Chamberlain also said that it was his understanding that the school board had planned to call for a joint meeting with commissioners. “That didn’t happen for whatever reason,” Chamberlain said.

The school board met Monday morning in a special meeting to decide a principal for the new Shive Elementary School.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID

High School

Coaches, lawmakers react to governor’s order expanding sporting event capacity

Coronavirus

Three new COVID-19 deaths, positives remain below triple digits

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper announces end to curfew, changes to restrictions affecting bars, high school sports

Crime

Blotter: Two charged after call about package

Crime

Salisbury Police investigating two shootings

Crime

Chase involving Kernersville man ends in woods behind Carson High School

News Main

North Rowan girls end season with playoff loss to Murphy

Education

Rowan-Salisbury EC department plunges in place after raising $1,300 for Special Olympics

Nation/World

Tiger Woods injured in car crash, has surgery on legs

Local

Local stakeholders set goals, direction to tackle city’s housing issues

Education

RSS board talks future of Henderson Independent School