• 55°

Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY – Rowan-Salisbury Schools Associate Superintendent of Resources Carol Herndon says the district was expecting level enrollment before COVID-19 pandemic hit.

But like so many other things, COVID-19 has upended original expectations. After COVID-19 hit, Herndon said, the district is expected some sort of decrease.

The allotted average daily membership is a measure of enrollment at public school districts across the state. It’s also used to determine funding for school districts. This year, average daily membership is a flat estimate from the state based on the previous year in an effort to prevent large shifts in funding for public schools. But actual enrollment is slightly down.

While the allotted average daily membership for the district from the state is 18,756, the district is reporting 18,124 students as of its 16th day of school. Herndon said that figured should climb somewhat higher as the semester continues.

Education agencies across the state have taken hits to enrollment this semester. The effects are not limited to school districts, either. Four-year institutions and community colleges have seen enrollment declines due to the pandemic as well. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, which has been one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the state in recent years, was down about 4% on enrollment at the start of this year.

“The comforting news is the state realizes these are unusual circumstances,” Herndon said.

Herndon said she’s not sure exactly how much a decrease in line with the actual enrollment would have affected the district’s funding, but it would have been significant. If ADM were up or down during a normal year, the district would return some funding to the state or receive additional funding according to the better of two figures calculated during the semester

A normal district receives funding allotments over the course of a year, but the special renewal status granted to RSS means it is given its state funding in a single block.

A sudden drop in students in a public school district is more concerning than a drop at a higher-education institution. Students who are of age to attend and below 16 years old are required to get an education.

Herndon said there were some issues with losing contact with families after the sudden end of last semester and before the beginning of this semester. But district social worker Brynn Falls said the district has managed to make contact with almost all of the unaccounted for students.

“The first thing we’re all doing is trying to contact parents, whether that be through calling them, texting them or emailing them, whatever contact information we have,” Falls said. “Beyond that, maybe if we aren’t getting a response from parents, reaching out to emergency contacts the parents have provided us in the past.”

The district also attempts to message students and parents via educational platforms and performs home visits if necessary to make contact. Some have enrolled in private schools or homeschool or are finalizing approval of their homeschools but did not notify the district.

Still, Falls said the district is having more trouble reaching families than in the past

Because of the special provision by the state, there would be no adjustment this year unless a new charter school begins pulling a significant number of students away from the district, but the only new charter school in the works is Faith Academy. If that school’s charter is approved next month it is not planning to begin classes until the 2021-2022 school year.



BlockWork returns for 10th year of beautification


Big Chili Cook Off changes format, sells 250 tickets


Kiwanis Club names five recipients of Centennial Awards


Rowan County bridge dedicated to local police officer who made ultimate sacrifice


Camp Barnhardt to host drive-in movie, trick-or-treat


Spicing things up: Mise En Place food truck finds success serving Indian fare


Church foundation distributes record amount of money


Biz Roundup: ‘Forward Rowan’ continues to draw support, raise money


School board set to vote on Faith, Enochville closures Monday


Local health officials worry pandemic will cause long-term effects for children’s health


Ordinance change needed to address night train noise in Salisbury


Election 2020: Heggins, Warren talk racial injustice, economy


Cunningham keeps low in NC Senate race marked by his affair


Two bodies found in home on Lincolnton Road


Man arrested in Kannapolis plotted to kill Biden, found with guns, explosive material, court documents state


Flagger clipped by vehicle, taken to hospital with minor injuries


County finishes week with five deaths, one of 36 to receive letter from state health officials


Salisbury Newsmedia reaches agreement to sell Innes Street building; Post to remain tenant


Blotter: Teens attempt to break into Gerry Wood Auto Group


Man faces arson charges for Kannapolis camper fire


New tenant hopes to lease former K&W Cafeteria building


Trump, Biden go after each other on coronavirus, taxes


County adds three more COVID-19 deaths to total


Health department launches billboard campaign to encourage mask wearing, flu vaccination