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School board hires new principal, talks capital needs

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education spent the majority of its work session Monday discussing the district’s most urgent capital needs.

The district currently needs $105.5 million for capital projects, including safety, roofing, paving, athletic capital, rebuilding Knox Middle School and building a consolidated elementary school in the western part of the county.

“I think we need to prioritize and say we have needs we need right now,” Hunter said.

He added that if an accident were to occur on a school’s bleachers, the school board could be at fault because they knew there was an issue but hadn’t fixed it.

The board voted to spend $500,000 of its $2.9 million capital fund balance to repair bleachers at the district’s middle and high schools that have become critical safety needs. Only $2.5 million of that money are available for use.

Vice Chairman Dean Hunter, Susan Cox, Dr. Richard Miller and Chuck Hughes voted in favor of the motion, and Chairman Josh Wager voted against it. Travis Allen and Jean Kennedy were not present for the vote.

In its entirety, the project will cost $900,000, but Cox expressed the desire to not bring the fund balance below $2 million.

A motion to fund the entire $900,000 project died when Hunter, Hughes and Wagner voted in favor and Miller, Cox and Kennedy voted against it.

“I think we’re splitting hairs when we’re talking a few hundred thousand dollars,” said Wagner, who wanted to fund the entire project. “We don’t have the backbone to do something. It just boggles my mind.”

“I don’t want to spend our entire fund balance,” he said, adding that beginning that project with the district’s fund balance would show that the school system is willing to pay for its own capital needs as much as possible.

Miller, however, pointed out that the board could come back and appropriate the rest of the funds when the $500,000 ran out, adding that the fiscal year is almost over.

“We couldn’t spend $900,000 over the next two months on bleachers,” he said.

While bleacher safety is important, Hughes said he felt the district had more important needs, such as security cameras.

The board also discussed some possibilities for Knox Middle School, including a two-story model which would prevent the district from adding pricey filling costs to the project.

There isn’t enough money to fund both a consolidated elementary school and to rebuild Knox Middle, so the board decided to call a meeting to discuss the two projects in more detail on April 20 at 3 p.m.

In addition, the board hired Katherine Bryant to be the principal of North Rowan Elementary School.

Bryant is currently an assistant principal at Bolton Elementary School in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in teaching kindergarten through sixth grade – both from Salem College. She also has a post-master’s certificate in school administration and served as a principal intern through the Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy.

Neither Bryant’s start date nor salary have been determined yet.

Her salary will be determined through a formula set up by the state based on her years of experience and number of certified staff members in the school. A local supplement will be added to complete her salary.

A start date will be set once Bryant informs the Winston-Salem/Forsyth school board of her resignation.

Scotty Adcock, former principal of North Rowan Elementary, voluntarily transferred to an assistant principal opening at Overton Elementary School immediately following spring break. Tim Smith, retired principal and director of student services, is serving as interim principal until Bryant takes the position.

The position was posted March 18 and there were 24 applicants.

 

In other news, the Board of Education:

  • Discussed proposed scheduling changes that would allow schools to start 20 minutes later, create consistent start times by grade level and provide consistent hours for employees. The board will vote on the proposal at its business meeting later this month.
  • Conducted a first read on policies concerning the board attorney, loss prevention and workday and overtime.
  • Rescheduled May’s business meeting for May 26. The meeting was originally scheduled for Memorial Day.
  • Decided to remove two pages of the board attorney job description from the listing that were not approved by the board. They also extended the application period by five business days.
  • Discussed the possibility of adding solar panels to district buildings as they are reroofed or repaired. The board also approved a motion which allows the district to apply for a grant for a solar panel at either Horizons Unlimited or one of the district’s STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, schools.

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