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RSS Board member: We must embrace change

By Chuck Hughes

Special to the Salisbury Post

believe the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education is obligated to conserve limited resources whenever an opportunity rises. I also believe that consolidation of six elementary schools may be such an opportunity.

Fourteen full capacity schools are more economical to run than 20 under-utilized schools. In addition, each consolidation will save the county up to $800,000.

Each consolidation will mean one more school does not need to have roofing and pavement repair or replacement now or in future years. In fact, it is a disservice to the county not to combine two undeserved schools that will only continue to have decreased student enrollment over the coming years based upon demographic projections.

The dollars the Board of Education invested in demographic science projections was a wise investment. The study allows a glance into a community’s future allowing prediction of growth or decline with a high degree of certainty.

Past birthrates are documented predictors of the number of children that will be enrolled in K-5 over the coming years. Other documented factors include the number of school aged children per acre of land and as which school district they will attend.

Because of this investment, the six schools being considered were not random choices based upon personal preference; they were chosen based upon future need or lack thereof and in such a manner that assures minimal displacement of students from their current schools.

Change is always controversial.

However, if we do not embrace change when logic demands, our social and economic environment becomes static.

Nostalgia is the underlying argument against most efforts to change. Although nostalgia can be a warm and comfortable pacifier, it can also be a detriment to progress and sediment that deters your children and their children from having a chance at their own nostalgia years from now.

I lived through this rough time when the Brooklyn Dodgers, my team since I could pick up a baseball bat, moved to L.A. However, some other young boy grew up knowing only the L.A. Dodgers. The Brooklyn what? A new era of nostalgia emerged.

The safe move for an elected official is not to suggest anything controversial, at least just before an election cycle, if they want to be reelected. However, if you govern with this belief, you do not deserve to hold the office to begin with. The fact that this board is being forthcoming in its consideration of such a controversial issue speaks well of its integrity.

I believe the BOE will listen to those who disagree with the path being considered with all sincerity. Speaking only for myself, I will support what I believe is in the best interest of Rowan County.

Chuck Hughes represents Salisbury on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.


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