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RSS board to hold retreat on consolidation

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will meet Thursday for an all-day retreat. The retreat, which will include discussion of 2016-17 budget requests and school consolidation, will begin at 9 a.m. in the board room at the Wallace Educational Forum.

Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said the board set the retreat in order to collect data and focus on the issue of potential school consolidation across the district. According to the board’s online agenda, the Operations Research and Education Laboratory will make a presentation at 11 a.m.

The organization is affiliated with the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University. According to its website, the laboratory “offers school planning solutions that are driven by data and supported by policy in order to gain community support.” School system Public Information Officer Rita Foil says the group specializes in population growth predictions.

Foil said the system had previously anticipated a decline of students based on local birth rates. Class decline is one of the factors the board will consider while discussing whether or not consolidation is necessary. Another factor is building age and condition — the data for which was gathered and presented at a previous board meeting by sfL+a Architects.

The board will also discuss strategies for an April community meeting at West Rowan High School. According to the board’s online agenda, the meeting is scheduled for April 28 at 3:30 p.m.

Before Thursday’s consolidation discussion begins, the board will look at 13 budget requests for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The requests total $3.25 million and include a 2 percent salary supplement for teachers, outsourcing substitute teacher services to an employment agency and the continuation of a co-principal at Koontz Elementary School and a teacher recruiter, both of which were created this year.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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