Funds for Kannapolis middle school OK’d

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Kannapolis City Schools Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution to accept funding for a new middle school from Cabarrus County’s Board of Commissioners.
“It sounds like we have an opportunity for something we’ve asked for for seven years,” said Todd Adams, boardchairman.
The district will receive short-term financing for up to $23 million during the 2015 fiscal year. In return, the district agreed to withdraw its resolution in support of a bond referendum for November’s ballot.
“The need for a new middle school has existed for many years,” said Superintendent Dr. Pam Cain during Monday’s school board meeting.
Based on current projections, the school system will be overcrowded by more than 600 students in kindergarten through the eighth grade by 2016. The district only has one middle and one intermediate school and no additional space in its elementary schools, making redistricting impossible.
In 2007, the district established the need for a middle school; and in 2008, it purchased property next to the current middle school on Oakwood Ave. in Kannapolis. However, they have been unable to secure funding to build a new middle school.
Under the approved plan, a new middle school would be built to accommodate all of Kannapolis City Schools’ seventh and eighth graders.
The current middle school would be converted into a second intermediate school. The two intermediate schools would house the district’s fourth, fifth and sixth graders, opening up additional space in the school system’s elementary schools as well.
The district’s lawyer Bryan Shaw said he didn’t have as much information as he’d like to have about the commissioners’ resolution, and he wished the school board could wait to ensure the commissioners would include the funding in their budget, but commissioners set a firm deadline of May 31.
“There doesn’t seem to be a way to push that deadline back,” Shaw said.
He added that the commissioners’ resolution, however, appeared to be “a recognition of a need for a school” and by law the commissioners have an “obligation to fund” those needs.
“One way or another, it’s got to be done,” he said.
The board agreed that it was unlikely the bond referendum would pass in November.
Board member Doris Buchanan pointed out the resolution may be the district’s “only opportunity” to receive funding for the middle school.
“I’ve said from the beginning, ‘Take the money and run,’” she said.
“It sounds pretty straight forward,” said Charles Mitchell.
In the resolution, the board made sure to include language that stresses the importance of the other four capital needs projects initially included in the referendum.
The resolution isn’t meant to “diminish the other four projects,” Shaw said.
The resolution states, “Board of Education still considers all five projects listed in its Resolution in Support of Bond Referendum to be critical needs.