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School board has busy schedule set for Monday

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Monday’s Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education meeting aims to get the board up to speed on several initiatives and pilot programs.

The regularly scheduled business meeting has a full agenda, including two closed sessions. But it also features several updates, including information on the bidding process for construction of the new western elementary school, the purchase of old laptops and iPads, a proposed charter-like restart for 13 area schools, a virtual pilot program for snow days and a report from the capital needs committee.

According to the board’s agenda, several bids were received for the thousands of laptops and iPads which will be cycled out over the summer. The highest bid was $4.5 million from PowerHouse Recycling.

The school system also advertised for bids for new iPad covers and for construction for the new western elementary school.

Five bids were received for iPad cases, with Brenthaven Edge 360 selected for possible approval. The company charges $24.95 per case for 13,650 iPads, bringing the total cost to $364,407.23 including tax. According to the agenda, funds from the buyback of equipment will be used to purchase the cases.

Staff reported that bids for construction on the new western elementary school were assembled into 37 trade packages. However, only 16 were opened “due to the number of bidders.” Unopened packages will be rebid and opened on May 25.

Thirteen area schools were approved by the state for a charter-like restart including: Erwin Middle, Overton Elementary, China Grove Elementary, Corriher-Lipe Middle, Koontz Elementary, Isenberg Elementary, Hurley Elementary, Knollwood Elementary, Landis Elementary, North Rowan Elementary, North Rowan High, Southeast Middle and West Rowan Middle schools.

The schools will have control and flexibility over their personnel, school calendars and curriculum. The program is a new one started by the state, and was offered to schools that have been flagged as low performing for multiple years.

The board will also receive and update of the virtual learning day piloted by West Rowan Middle School earlier this year. The model is intended to allow students to complete work from home on snow days. Students are required to complete assignments and check in with their teachers throughout the day. West Rowan tested the model on an early release day earlier this year.

The board will meet at 5 p.m. in the Wallace Educational Forum board room, 500 N. Main St. Public comment will be held at 6 p.m.

In other business the board will:

  • Discuss a policy which would direct schools to not name valedictorian and salutatorian beginning with the 2017-18 incoming freshman class.
  • Discuss the possibility of adding Spanish for native speakers to the high school curriculum. According to the agenda, the classes help boost literacy and retain students among those who speak Spanish as their primary language.
  • Receive an update on the possibility of launching a virtual academy that would allow homeschool students to take online courses with the school system.
  • Discuss an alternative schedule for Henderson Independent High School and consider purchasing vans to help transport students to and from the school.
  • Hear from the capital needs committee, which has been brainstorming ways to tackle aging school buildings and upkeep costs throughout the district.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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