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School board to hold all-day meeting

Editor’s note: Due to inclement weather this meeting has been moved to Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m.

By Rebecca Rider
rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will hold an all-day retreat Tuesday in addition to its regularly scheduled work session.

The retreat will be in the Wallace Educational Board Room, 500 N. Main St., beginning at 10 a.m. At its December business meeting, the board cleared the entire day — through 5 p.m. — to get a head start on planning and tackling budget concerns for the next fiscal year.

The agenda also includes discussion of issues that have been of concern in past board meetings, including a student population decline, state-mandated class size reduction and increased charter school attendance.

According to the agenda, the number of charter schools in North Carolina has doubled since 2011. With that, student attendance has dropped. In 2011-12, an estimated 88 local students chose to attend a charter school. In the current school year, the estimate is 430. When the students left the public schools, state funding went with them.

The district also is struggling with funding should a state mandate remain unchanged. When it approved the state budget in August, the state legislature passed a policy to reduce class size in kindergarten through third grade by three students each, but it did not increase teacher allotments or funding.

Rowan-Salisbury staff estimate that the move will force the district to cut 38 student enrichment positions in order to hire more classroom teachers and leave the system scrambling to come up with an extra $2.8 million. The board voted previously to request that the state provide funding for the mandate.

Both issues will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

In other business, the board:

  • Will go over its strategic plan, implemented in 2014. With the plan now in its third and final year, the board is expected to implement a new one.
  • Look at a salary study by School Efficiency Consultants that recommends a $3,000 minimum supplement for teachers and an $11,500 supplement increase for principals. The increases are intended to ensure that the district is competitive in recruiting.
  • Consider a weighted staffing model that would provide high-needs schools with the staff they need to help students succeed.
  • Begin organizing information in preparation for the end of its lease with Apple Inc. The three-year lease runs out at the end of the school year, leaving the district to decide if it wants to stay with Apple as its provider for the one-to-one devices or choose a competitor.
  • Look at capital needs for all schools and buildings in the district. Meeting the needs of all buildings would cost approximately $208.5 million, according to the agenda. Districtwide needs include security, roofing, paving, restroom and electrical upgrades, and general renovations. Replacing Knox Middle and Woodleaf and Cleveland elementary schools has been recommended. Salisbury High is assessed as the system’s highest need, with an estimated $13 million in repairs and upgrades recommended.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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