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School system’s vision affects budget

Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody stressed the importance of aligning the school system’s resources to match the goals outlined by its new strategic plan during Monday’s school board meeting.
The strategic plan was developed with input from school board members, parents, school system staff and business leaders.
“It’s difficult to do something without focused leadership,” Vice Chairwoman Kay Wright Norman said, adding that the strategic plan adds the focus that the school system needs.
A new vision statement, mission statement and motto are central to the new strategic plan.
The new vision statement states, “Where every day, everyone discovers and achieves the extraordinary,” while the new mission statement is, “To inspire and provide opportunities for innovative and engaging learning.” The school system’s motto will be, “E3: Extraordinary Education Everyday.”
The school system’s main push over the next few years will be literacy, Moody said.
The system’s goal is for 90 percent of students to be reading at or above grade level by 2017 and that every student will achieve or exceed one year’s growth in reading skills annually.
Rowan-Salisbury schools will also be working toward providing more engaging work and instruction.
The school system’s priorities will also include school safety; employee recruitment, development and retention and engaging the community.
In addition to the school system’s broad goals, departmental goals have also been set. The goals might be tweaked, but Moody presented the drafts during the presentation.
“Every department also spent a full day writing their goals and strategies for their department,” Moody said.
These departmental goals target a wide variety of issues, such as school safety, interscholastic athletics, transportation, child nutrition, student services, energy efficiency and employee retention.
A public presentation of the final strategic plan will be released in May.
Also, by the 2016-17 school year, every student in the Rowan-Salisbury School System will have a mobile learning device, according to the new strategic plan.
“Some of the goals we have are lofty, but that’s what they should be,” Norman said, adding, “We don’t want mediocrity.”
During her budget presentation, Moody talked about repurposing funds and looking for cost-efficiencies as well as productivity gains in the budget.
“It’s all about our children and how we move them to the extraordinary,” she said.
According to Moody, there are several mandatory increased expenses for the 2014-15 school year, including a 2 percent salary increase, as well as insurance and retirement funding.
Moody also addressed staffing needs, saying the school system needs a full-time testing director, athletic director, six nurses, seven behavioral specialists and two technology facilitators.
She also said the roles of various positions in the school system need to be redefined.
The many facilities throughout the system are in desperate need of maintenance and repairs such as roofing, she added.
The board unanimously approved the budget proposal.
Rowan-Salisbury Chief Financial Officer Tara Trexler will package the feedback from Monday’s meeting into a budget message, which she will submit to county commissioners by April 10, and then Moody will present the system’s needs at one of their meetings. Trexler said the public hearing regarding the school system’s budget is typically scheduled in May or June.

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