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School board to view capital needs for elementary schools, technology refresher Monday

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — After updating a chart originally used to craft a closure plan in 2018, the Rowan-Salisbury School Board will revisit the document Monday night.

The meeting will be 4 p.m. in the Wallace Educational Forum — 500 North Main St.

The board asked RSS administration to revisit the assessment for elementary schools at the end of its last meeting on Jan. 27. Notably, Enochville Elementary School, which was recommended for a formal closure study, has moved down in rankings compared to the 2018 assessment, which contained every school in the district. In the updated chart, Enochville is the third-worst-rated school in the district.

Among elementary schools, Hanford Dole received the best rating. With Enochville at the bottom of the pack were Overton, Faith and Mt. Ulla. Though, the Rowan-Salisbury School Board is working through a plan that would merge Overton and Knox Middle School into a K-8 facility. The chart takes into account the building’s condition in addition to items such as enrollment, recent upgrades and energy efficiency.

The board’s current plan is to look at closures for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond rather than the upcoming 2020-2021 year. The chart is only listed as a discussion item.

Superintendent Lynn Moody on Monday will also speak to the board about options for Henderson Independent High School, which is a century-old facility. The school was also named at the previous meeting, though the administration did not have a recommendation on proceeding with closure. Henderson is also listed as a discussion item.

David Blattner, chief technology officer, will return to the board with new information on the district’s technology upgrades that include 2,080 new 10-inch Apple iPads that will be issued to all students and faculty.

Faculty members also will be issued MacBook Air laptops as well. The change to iPads for all students is based on a pilot study at North Rowan High School that found the iPads work well for students, other than making it more difficult to access streaming services they are not supposed to.

The possibility of moving teachers to iPads alone was looked at as well, but most faculty surveyed agreed teachers need the laptops.

The district, which provides each student with a device, explored moving away from the 1:1 ratio in grades K-2. But teachers believed it would adversely affect the education of the lower grade level students.

Apple quoted the district $12.3 million for all of the devices, software, accessories and services the district would purchase. That also includes cases, Logitech Crayon styluses for some students, professional learning services and AppleCare+ warranty plans for the devices.

Blattner will also present a new copier contract with Sharp.

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