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Moody responds to allegations over Save Our Schools meeting venue

When Thursday’s Rowan Rural Save Our Schools meeting switched venues from Faith Elementary to the Rowan County Fairgrounds, president of the political action committee Todd Paris alleged it was due to Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody forbidding the use of the school.

However, Moody said that is not the case. Moody said she spoke to the principal of Faith Elementary on Tuesday, and asked about details of the meeting — but was told it had already been moved from the school.

“I didn’t even know about it until after it was canceled,” she said. “So I never forbid anybody from that. That’s not my leadership style.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Paris also alleged that teachers were discouraged from attending.

“I haven’t talked to any teachers. I haven’t met with any teachers,” Moody said in response to Paris’s comment.

She did send an e-mail to the system’s more than 3,000 over the weekend, explaining that the board had not made any decisions, and clarifying why it felt the need to open the issue of consolidations for discussion.

“We have over $30M of immediate maintenance needs for roofing, flooring, paving, HVAC, and athletic fields/courts/playgrounds. This does not include building any new schools; it is just to get us up to standard. We also have reoccurring operational needs such as local salary supplements, school nurses, full-time substitutes, etc. without a reoccurring funding source,” the e-mail reads.

It ends by opening the lines of communication:

“We will do our best to keep you informed as we have factual information. I assure you the Board of Education is working hard to make the best decision, not the fastest decision. They are committed to provide our students with the best learning environment possible under current budget restraints. Let’s work together to ensure we are having positive, factual, forward thinking conversations during a very challenging time. I truly appreciate your hard work. We will continue to try to find ways to support your needs.”

“I would certainly be disappointed if anyone read that as being discouraging,” Moody said of the message.

Staff are encouraged to be respectful and professional, she said.

“I do want us to have conversations that open dialogue. So I don’t promote things that are inciteful or that would shut down conversation. But I don’t forbid anyone to go anywhere or say anything,” she said.

Moody said she hopes for a conversation where everyone feels that their opinions are valued, and that she and the board want to hear from everyone – including those who are against consolidation. An open, respectful dialogue may produce a unique solution to the issue that hadn’t occurred to the board.

She said she doesn’t think the first round of data presented to the board will result in a decision, but hopes that it will open dialogue.

“I think it is worth it to our children to take the time to have a community conversation about how to provide them better facilities,” Moody said.

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