Spencer aldermen pass resolution against closure of North Rowan High School

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 13, 2018

By Andie Foley

SPENCER — At the suggestion of resident Jacquelyn Jensen and North Rowan graduate Karla Foster, Spencer’s Board of Aldermen on Tuesday passed a resolution “reject(ing) and admonish(ing) any proposal or plan that would include tearing down North Rowan High School.”

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education released a plan including just such a suggestion in late November of this year. Said plan followed a year of investigation and study by the board’s 45-member capital needs committee.

If followed, it would involve closing six Rowan-Salisbury elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools over a period of time.

North Rowan High School could be one of the first schools closed, and community members have been quick to express displeasure and worry over the possibility.

Jensen and Foster’s provided resolution addressed the school’s status as a community pillar, how it had been in the community for 50 years.

The town of Spencer was a tightly knit community dating back generations, it said, and losing the school would negatively impact the morale of town residents and their children.

Alderman Mike Boone moved to add additional information into the document: line items regarding the potential negative impacts on the economy and town job market the school closure could cause.

“Because of the number of people brought to this community on a daily and weekly basis, closure could impact a number of retail businesses in terms of Food Lion, Bojangles, Subway, etc. plus cause property values to decline and cause a change of mind of people wanting to move to the town of Spencer,” the resolution now reads.

Boone said his addition to the resolution was just one of many reasons he saw to keep North Rowan where it stood.

“I hate to say these words, but I feel like we’re being bullied into accepting what’s been brought forth by the school board,” he said. “There’s so many ways it impacts the town and, even if the high school cannot stay here as its own, there’s a very good use for that building over here that would save the county millions of dollars.”

Foster said she and Jensen supported Boone’s additions.

“We think that the heart of the resolution stays the same, and it is that Spencer supports North Rowan continuing to be a part of the community,” she said. “… We are certainly not leaders. We are just a few of many folks throughout this county … concerned about the direction that the school board is going.”

Foster said that a grassroots community meeting about the consolidation plan will be held Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. at Central Methodist Church at 200 4th St. An official, school board-hosted community input session will follow on Dec. 19 at 5:30 at the high school.