• 54°

One speaks, two write to oppose Enochville Elementary closure

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — There were two written comments and one person who spoke directly to the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education during a public hearing Tuesday on the closure of Enochville Elementary School.

It was the second of two such meetings and was a slight contrast with one held a day before. During that meeting Monday, no one spoke against the closure of Faith Elementary. The only comments were written and sent by people connected to the would-be charter Faith Academy, which is seeking final approval from the State Board of Education in December.

The Faith hearing lasted less than 10 minutes, and the Enochville meeting lasted about 13. The board will still accept written comments until 24 hours after the meeting. The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will make a final closure decision at an upcoming meeting, and the purpose of the hearings was to hear from the public since they are a required part of the closure process.

Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann said no information provided to the board with regard to the proposed closure has changed.

The board met virtually for this hearing, but met in person for Monday’s hearing on Faith Elementary School. Vice-chair Travis Allen was absent. Member Jean Kennedy attempted to join partway into the hearing.

Robin Barham was the only person to address the board. Barham works for the city of Concord and lives in the Enochville Elementary attendance area.

Barham said her children have attended the school since 2012 and she has a daughter who is a fifth grader attending the school now.

“I wish that I could come to you with an overwhelming amount of data or solutions that would support keeping Enochville Elementary open,” Barham said. “However, I know the decisions that you guys are faced.”

Barham said, based on her experience in local government, she understands there are touch choices the board has to make, but she asked the board not to forget the feelings and the faces involved in the decisions.

“What I would like to say is that community schools matter,” Barnham said. “I don’t expect this to change your mind, however there is something to be said about small, tight-knit schools that don’t just sit in the community. Often they are the community.”

Barham added if the community cannot save the school, she hopes it can learn about the power of community from its success. She also highlighted the staff at the school and encouraged the board to take care of them during a transition.

“All the teachers and staff at Enochville deserve our appreciation,” Barham said, adding she hopes the board will allow the school the opportunity to celebrate what the school means to the community.

Board clerk Sonya Mulkey also read a pair of written comments aloud during the virtual hearing.

The first written comment was from Julia Waitt, who said the staff at the school “bent over backwards” to help her first-grade son with special needs.

“Closing his school and having him start over at another school will be traumatic for him,” Waitt wrote.

Waitt said she is sure she is not the only parent with children who will be affected like this, adding the school is well built and the staff is “amazing.”

Waitt pointed to Enochville’s high school report card rating compared to a number of other schools in the district and said the school is one of the reasons she moved where she did.

“Please do not close this school,” Waitt wrote. “It has been a godsend to my special-needs son.”

The other written submission, only labeled with the name Shannon, questioned why the district is discussing school closures amid a global crisis.

“Shouldn’t we be more focused on getting our kids to school safe at this moment, then when school ends we can discuss closing down a school?” the second written submission said, adding there are more important issues than trying to close a school that “needs to be open and running.”

RSS administration estimates the district would save at least $500,000 per year for each school it closes and has an expanding number of surplus seats in the district. 

Enochville was tapped for closure in 2019 as well, but the board backed down. The school lost 100 students last year and Superintendent Lynn Moody has pointed to a phenomenon of schools effectively closing themselves when a district does not make a decision quickly.

District administration claims no faculty or staff would be laid off as a result of the closure and everyone would be reassigned. Moody has said the district is actively trying to hire more teachers rather than eliminate positions.

There is no charter school hopeful in Enochville trying to step in like Faith Academy.

Comments

Crime

Man charged with failing to register as sex offender

Crime

Police say DNA evidence ties Salisbury man to bank robbery attempt

News

Catawba College researchers say invasive beetle will kill significant portion of ecological preserve’s ash trees

Elections

Dr. Fauci, Kanye West, Jesus Christ among presidential write-in candidates in Rowan County

Crime

Salisbury Police receive grant for social justice, racial equity training

Local

When weather turns cold, where do Rowan County wildlife go?

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged faces marijuana charge after being served with unrelated warrant

Coronavirus

Local health officials see record testing numbers ahead of Thanksgiving

Elections

State Board of Elections certifies results of 2020 election

Business

Small business owners seek lifeline in new grant program offered by Rowan County

Crime

Blotter: Sheriff’s Office investigating arson at storage unit housing Royce Apparel Inc. merchandise

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for white pickup caught vandalizing schools, church

News

Salisbury city manager tests positive for COVID-19

Food

Home sweet home: Families never tire of decorating Rowan Museum gingerbread houses

Crime

Former Salisbury High teacher faces additional sex offense charges

Education

RSS planning drive-thru send-off for superintendent

Local

Highway Patrol: Fatal I-85 crash occurred when one vehicle stopped in roadway

Coronavirus

10 more counties found with ‘critical’ spread as Gov. Cooper tightens mask-wearing restrictions

Crime

Police: Several weekend overdoses possibly result of ‘bad batch’ of drugs

Crime

Davie County Social Services employee faces assault, child abuse charges

Elections

Political Notebook: State survey shows majority of voters confident in election process

Local

Logistics, instructions for ‘Tis the Season Spectacular parade

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can people stop unwanted telemarketers, robocalls?

Local

One reported dead after fiery interstate crash