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School board to discuss enrollment trends, Knox renovations

SALISBURY — There’s a lot on the table at Monday’s Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education meeting.

On of the first items up for discussion is district enrollment trends. Using data collected from the school system’s 10-day headcount, district staff show declining enrollment numbers in local schools. According to agenda attachments, enrollment at the 10-day headcount was 18,744 students — a more than 400 student decline from last year’s 10-day count of 19,170. Enrollment numbers have been steadily declining since 2014. Elementary enrollment numbers are also dropping — from 8,750 students in 2017 to 8,374 in 2018.

According to documents, more than 1,000 students have left the district this year, choosing to go to schools in other districts, charter schools and even schools out of state.

The board will also hear information about rebuilding or remodeling Knox Middle School. Current estimates for building a brand new facility are $40 million to $50 million. Moderate renovations would tally up to about $17 million, and extensive renovations would be about $21 million.

According to agenda documents, it’s possible that more than $60 million could be made accessible in 2020 or 2021 as county debt service wears off.

District staff will also recommend installing HVAC in the North Rowan and West Rowan high school gymnasiums. North and West are the only schools that lack air conditioning in their gyms. According to agenda documents, it would cost about $165,000 per site, or a total of $330,000 for both schools.

Also on Monday’s agenda is the topic of consolidation. The board first looked in to consolidating schools in 2016, but the discussion was tabled following community outcry. There were no details available on the board’s online agenda.

The board will meet at 4 p.m. in the Wallace Educational Forum board room, 500 N. Main St. The meeting begins with closed session. Celebrations are held at 5 p.m., and public comment is held at 6 p.m.

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