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School board considers removing mobile units from local schools

SALISBURY — Parents opposed to Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ consolidation plan and school board member Dean Hunter share at least one question related to capacity in local schools.

Why are there mobile units or trailers, as Hunter said during Monday’s school board meeting, at the schools if those facilities are under capacity? And why not get rid of the trailers and move students back into buildings if mobile units aren’t needed?

“We’ve been hammered for this,” Hunter said.

With those questions in mind, the school board came close Monday to voting to remove all mobile units not required to teach students.

“Every trailer that’s not being utilized to support capacity for students would be eliminated,” Hunter said.

He made a motion and received a second, but he decided to amend his proposal to allow the district staff to gather more information — including the number of mobile units, where they’re located and if they’re needed to support student capacity — in time for the school board’s April 8 meeting.

Assistant Superintendent for Operations Anthony Vann said Bostian Elementary is likely the only school where mobile units are needed for student capacity. Vann said Bostian is over capacity. However, there was some question Monday about whether mobile units had been kept for storage at the direction of principals

Board member Travis Allen said he understands keeping mobile units around for storage of items such as football pads but that he wouldn’t want money spent to purchase more.

Vice Chairwoman Susan Cox said she wants to know specifically what’s being kept in the mobile units.

At Chairman Josh Wagner’s suggestion, Hunter agreed to amend his motion to seek information rather than hold a final vote Monday.

Following a brief discussion Monday, the school board also voted to use roughly $1.1 million in contingency funds from the construction of West Rowan Elementary School to demolish parts of the now-closed Cleveland Elementary School.

The board previously sought to shift the burden for paying for demolition to the Rowan County commissioners, who approve local funding for the school system. However, Wagner said the contingency funds would not return to RSS’ fund balance, partially a savings account, if they were not used.

Vann previously told the Salisbury Post that the cost to partially demolish the former Cleveland Elementary is $282,993.

Plans for parts of Cleveland Elementary that are not demolished include creating a west branch of the Rowan Public Library and, possibly, building an EMS station.

Contact editor Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4248

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