Talkback: What online readers say about school consolidation

Published 3:17 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

… RSS board considers closing six elementary schools

I don’t have any children in the school system, but if I did, I would be one of the loudest opponents of this idea. Mt. Ulla school is one of the newer school buildings.

— Glenda Kearns

What happens if down the road the school population picks back up and suddenly you’re faced with overcrowding? And I don’t care what this company says, they have absolutely no way of knowing how many people will move into the county nor where they will live. They can only project.

— Mike Shue

These are also some of the oldest schools in the county that are not in the best of shape, anyway.

— Cyn Everhart

A few are not as new as some, but that does not mean it’s condemned. Not knocking you, but just because someone does not want their children to go to another school does not make them wrong.

— Jesse Goldin

Enochville Elementary is one of the oldest schools in the county. I sure hope they fix the Millbridge car-rider lane if they merge. It is by far the worst I’ve ever seen.

— Jason Parnell

I have fond memories of attending Woodleaf Elementary School back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. … Now, administrators look more towards economies of scale, as well as operational and maintenance costs.

… Smaller class size is certainly favored to give more individualized instruction to each student and improve overall academic performance in our county. But that requires a financial commitment that we as a community must decide whether to undertake. It requires leaders who, in this case, must weigh the leadership risks of steep tax increases to remodel, maintain and operate older buildings against the risks of voter retaliation over consolidations. I do not envy the task they face.

— Jeff Morris

There are constant claims of high taxes, yet some commenting here want to fund a low-population school because it makes them feel good. Pick your poison, people.

— Brad Boyd

There would be more teachers per grade level so that class sizes stay “manageable.” However, teacher allocation can change year to year depending on the number of students enrolled. More teacher assistants would be fantastic.

— Charlie Perrell

In grades K-3, class sizes are limited to 24 students, or 21 on average, but grades 4-12 do not have a limit to class size, except where federally required in CTEs and classes that have special needs.

— Candis Coble

My kids go to Morgan and we love how the class sizes are so small. Moving them would be a bad idea.

— Melina Epling

So what happens … when attendance goes up? Do you reopen the schools or are our children going to left behind because of crowded classrooms and stressed-out teachers? Who cares about those things, right, just as long as we can save some money? It is sad. Our children are the future and don’t deserve to be robbed of it.

— Traci Morrow

You already have problems in the middle schools, is this going to be a trickle down effect? … The decision must be made with the child’s welfare in mind, not the budget. If they have to spend an hour to get to and from school and another hour or two doing homework, then they will exceed their parents’ hours at work. Children need time to be children and get outside and play.

— Phyllis Steinauer

I would absolutely hate to see this happen. I love working at a smaller school and I love my child attending a smaller school. We have always been promised smaller class sizes, which has never happened, and this move would definitely not allow that. This would uproot so many students and teachers.

I absolutely think this is a terrible idea to even be considered. It should not be about the money, but what is best for the kids. This is not about the kids at all.

— Kelly Reinholz

Redistricting has been needed for a long time. Creating true community schools should be the focus.

— Chelsea Nicole

I understand the wants of families, but school systems cannot continue to maintain so many buildings. The cost is prohibitive. … I understand parents’ concerns and their angst. The kids will still go to school and get an education… It just may have to be in a different facility.

— Jennifer Knox

Before building our recent schools, why didn’t you rub your lamp and foresee the decline in students? You could have saved a ton of money and great schools.

— Javin Honeycutt

Quite possibly the dumbest idea I’ve read here lately.

My daughter starts pre-K this year. Knowing she’ll be in a smaller-sized class ensured for me she’ll get the education and help she needs to succeed. Why doesn’t education matter anymore? Our generation is destroying us, and it’s sad to watch.

— Krishna Helle

I am the cafeteria manager at Morgan. I am so devastated for myself, my staff and the students. We have children coming from the Dan Nicholas Park area as well as way down around the lake. Some children are already making a 10- to 15-minute commute just to get to us.

Imagine the amount of time spent traveling and sitting on a bus for those same students who will be forced to go to Rockwell/Shive area — not to mention overcrowding and potential job losses for so many hardworking and honorable staff members.

… I am not saying this impartially, but Morgan is a wonderful environment for children. Lots of one-on-one and love from staff and parents. I know every student in my school on first-name basis, as well as which sibling belongs to which and whose parent is who. You’re not going to have that kind of involvement in a school that’s being utilized at “100 percent capacity.” I pray the community will speak out!

— Nikki Watts

My son goes to Faith; we live less than 2 miles from school. It would be a shame to have him have to go to another school. And what about the kids that struggle? Wouldn’t larger classes make it harder for them?

— Robin Kimmer

We need to do what’s best for our children, and that is keeping them comfortable and in the smallest class size possible so that they get the attention and help from the teachers that they need.

— Ashley Weaver

And the powers that be of Rowan County wonder why folks are moving away.

— Nick Rogers

All my family has attended Morgan Elementary for a couple of generations. Now my own children attend there, and I absolutely love that it’s a small town school. I do not want my kids in a crowded school where they will not get the attention they need. Just because it’s an older school does not mean it’s in bad shape. In fact, there is so much love in that school and that’s why my kids fit in so well there. I know they are taken care of while I’m working.

— Amber Fraley

Ridiculous that they would close schools and shift kids out of their communities. I think we need to evaluate where the money is currently going versus where the money needs to go.

— Carrie Reavis

Not sure if y’all have evaluated Rockwell, but my mom had to pull my sister out two years ago because there were 30 students per teacher and an assistant for only one hour.

I think small classes are best. … I live in Gold Hill in hopes that my children will attend Morgan in the upcoming years for the sake of going to a more humble and close-knit elementary school. So please don’t do this.

And you’re also not considering parents … taking their children to school and how it may affect the work schedules, gas, etc. We are taxpayers, so let’s see where our money is truly going!

— Nicole Fries

Big new county office and then add on top of that a rundown $3 million mall. Now we cannot afford to give the kids the education that they deserve.

— Starr Hughes

Sad Rowan is doing this. I live in Stanly County and they voted Tuesday night to close Oakboro Elementary. It’s one of the larger elementary schools on the western end and has most of the county’s EC classes.

The board members in both counties need to realize what they’re doing. They are not thinking of the students; all they’re thinking about is the almighty dollar. Businesses will not move to an area were there isn’t a school or were a school has closed.

Open your eyes, Board of Education; think about the students and families you will hurt and displace buy doing this.

— Scott Burgess

I do not support this idea, not even one iota. While a lull in population is going to occur, logic dictates that population will go back up. What then? Students being forced to sit in the halls to learn?

Doing this would eliminate many jobs, and while I certainly understand the desire to save money, why should we save money at the expense of our children? They are our future generations, and we owe them better than that which we are giving them.

When I ran for the N.C. House this last cycle, I promised to continue fighting for our children, and I will fight this until I cannot fight any longer. … For far too long, education has been on the bottom of the priority list in this state, and I am sick and tired of it.

— Andrew Poston

Let’s not consider the costs and headaches incurred when these displaced children have to be bused 20-30 miles from their homes. They spend more time on a bus now than in the classroom. I think your “all-day retreat” was a waste of time.

— Wayne Smith

Smaller communities bring more attention to the smaller classrooms —more one on one teacher/student interaction…, more understanding and development for the students. When a teacher (human being) has 20 or more children, that teacher will lose sight on development and then will begin to focus on the number. Our children are not a number.

— Laura Prymock

Why not consider expanding those six school districts a little bit, help take some load off the surrounding schools that struggle with class sizes being too big? Our teachers are stretched too thin with the stress from the end-of-grade test guidelines as it is. They need more help and the kids need more individualized attention. My kids go to Faith. It’s an amazing school that should not be shut down. I would much rather see it grow a little and take in a bigger zone than shut down.

— Amy Whitley

When will we see the presentation presented to the board? The community should see this to understand the rationale behind the proposal.

— Jon Callahan

This is probably some trial balloon government is floating out just to measure the public’s reaction. Next they will say if you want to keep these schools open, fine; we will just increase property taxes to pay for it. If they want to close the schools, there should also be a similar cut in the administrative staff located in downtown Salisbury; fewer schools should mean fewer paper pushers.

— Eric Vandeford

I hope they don’t close Enochville Elementary because I bought houses to leave to my kids so their kids could also go to Enochville.

— Clayton Leo

Smaller classes are better for students and teachers. Do away with  iPads. Invest in our children and their education, not new schools.

— Bridgette Martin

Are RoCo citizens willing to pony up more tax money to keep their schools? Are small community schools really a selling point in the marketing of our county? The increase in taxes to preserve this resource would be an investment in our future. Surely a better deal than tax breaks for businesses that “love-us-and-leave-us.”

… Are nearby, small schools important enough to Rowan citizens to raise tax support to pay for them? It’s time for us to put our money where our mouths are.

— Ron Turbyfill

… RSS board members: No quick decision on school consolidation

The people put you on the board, and the people can take you off (Hallelujah)

The people put you on the board, and the people can take you off (Hallelujah)

The. people. put. you. on. the. board. And. The. People. Can. Take. You. Off! (The people can take you off, Hallelujah!)

Aw, sing it, brothers and sisters.

— Stephen Owen

The real consolidation that will save the most money is the one nobody uptown wants to talk about — North and Salisbury high schools. I am not saying I am for or against it, but if you’re going to talk savings and open seats, then high schools need to be talked about also. But that will upset too many people who don’t understand that taking the same teachers and resources and combining them could make one great school.

Most of the schools in the county are old and, yes, it is going to take taxes to build new ones. So we can all be willing to take the new taxes or eventually we will have to consolidate schools. …

As a county — not just communities — we need to figure it out. If we do not have the right people in place, then we need the right people with the right background to do this, not hire consultants every couple of years to tell us the same thing.

— Todd McNeely

… State senator describes idea to fill local teacher vacancies

The key to solving the teacher shortage is raising teacher salaries — 30 percent for starters. Less stringent licensing and educational requirements are totally not acceptable.

— Ken Walters

North Carolina had something like this. It was known as the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program. It produced thousands of wonderful teachers. It was axed a few years ago when Republicans took over the N.C. General Assembly.

— Jan Harwood

It would be a mistake to lower the standards to become a teacher.

— Jantana Jernigan

And yet the Repubs will claim that it’s a new idea they came up with to illustrate their “broad support for public education.” If only the public had longer memories than they do.

— Bill Bucher

We used to have this and it was nixed just five years ago. It was hugely successful, but in austere times, success takes a backseat to the narrative of “lower taxes.” Here is the information in case you’re interested:

— Cathy Mahaffey

Keep the licensure standards up, reinstitute Teaching Fellows and raise salaries. Everybody wins! (Also, NCGA, please revamp the grading system criteria so that more emphasis is placed on growth and other indicators. These letter grades only serve to diminish the hard work of school employees and confuse the public about what is being measured.)

— Karen Puckett

Typical Republican fashion: Lower the standards for teachers; then you won’t have to pay them much and you can recruit them from local churches. That way they can teach religion and ABCs, just like the old timey schools.

— Tony Dockery