School board retreat to start with consolidation

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, January 22, 2019

By Andie Foley

Nearly two months after Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Board of Education was presented a tentative consolidation plan, members will gather on Wednesday to begin evaluating next steps.

The meeting, a planning retreat, will be held at the Wallace Educational Board Room, 500 N. Main St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Board members will start the day looking at results from a month of community input sessions and online surveys.

Nearly 800 community members attended five sessions held at Salisbury, East Rowan, South Rowan, West Rowan and North Rowan high schools, and 1,900 responded to the online questionnaire.

According to data compiled by the school system’s chief strategy officer, Dr. Andrew Smith, eight common themes arose from the sessions and surveys. The themes included concerns about redistricting, teacher and staff impact, student impact, community impact, transportation, funding, the timeline and process and facilities.

A large portion of Wednesday’s session will be devoted to addressing the first of these, as board members are presented with possible redistricting plans from consultant Mike Miller, of Numerix.

During its Monday, Jan. 14, work session, the board tasked Miller with preparing two possible scenarios for consideration — one looking at redistricting with school facilities as they exist currently.

The second scenario would see how redistricting would look under Tier 1 of the proposed, three-phase consolidation plan.

Tier 1 would see a new kindergarten through eighth-grade building replace Knox Middle and Overton Elementary schools,  Henderson school demolished and relocated, North Rowan High School closed and students reassigned and Faith, Rockwell and Granite Quarry elementary schools combined into a new East Rowan Elementary.

The plan also includes the reassignment of Koontz Elementary and North Rowan High School students, leaving two buildings available for as prospective sites for a potential career and technical education site.

Koontz was the original proposed location of this center, though board members will evaluate locating the center at North Rowan on Wednesday — if they decide they want the center at all.