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Public hearing on Faith closure canceled; new meeting scheduled

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education has canceled a public hearing about the closure of Faith Elementary School that was scheduled for Monday.

Instead, the board will have a called meeting at 6 p.m. Monday. It will be open to the public and held at Wallace Educational Forum, 500 N. Main St.

Rita Foil, public information officer for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, said information about the closure of Faith Elementary will be discussed.

School board Chairman Josh Wagner said, “There may be some updated information from the county regarding funding. We need to have an opportunity for the board to hear that before anything moves forward.”

County Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said he plans to speak during the meeting.

“Some commissioners have been meeting with school board leadership, and we are trying to come up with some solutions that, while it will not solve everything overnight, may give the school board some other options,” Edds said.

The cancellation of the hearing came just days after a contentious school board meeting last Monday during which a crowd of people converged on Wallace Educational Forum to protest a potential closure. It was during that meeting that the school board scheduled the now-canceled public hearing as well as another one about Enochville Elementary scheduled April 8.

Wagner has proposed closing Faith Elementary School this year and moving students to Koontz Elementary. Wagner’s proposal would shutter Enochville Elementary at the end of next year, but Wagner and Superintendent Lynn Moody say it may be beneficial to close that school this year instead.

The only money tied to the closures so far is $500,000 for cosmetic upgrades and renovations to Koontz.

Wagner also has proposed spending $20 million for the renovation of Knox Middle School, $20 million to open a career and technical education school at North Rowan High School, and $19.5 million for other capital needs across the district.

That package of funding is based on statements by county officials that there would be a capacity for $60 million in new debt in the 2022 fiscal year. County government’s annual debt payment for public schools is $9.8 million this year, $10.1 million in the 2020 fiscal year, $5.7 million in the 2021 fiscal year, and $5.6 million in the 2022 fiscal year.

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