Faith Academy rescinds offer on elementary school, moves ahead with mobile classrooms

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 16, 2021

FAITH — The town’s new charter school on Monday rescinded a $250,000 offer to purchase the Faith Elementary property from Rowan-Salisbury Schools in order to move ahead with plans to install mobile units at Shiloh Reformed Church.

Faith Academy Board Chair George Wilhelm said the charter still has an interest in the elementary property for future use, but it does not have the funding to proceed with mobile units and purchase the elementary facility at the same time. The charter is also under a time crunch to get classrooms ready for its fall opening. Because of that time crunch, the original offer for the property had an expiration date of Monday.

“We’re spending money elsewhere now,” Wilhelm said.

The academy’s board of directors spent about an hour in closed session discussing personnel items and the property issues before making the decision.

Before moving to closed session, Wilhelm recounted the timeline of the school, with the idea of forming in 2019 amid initial talks about closing Faith and Enochville elementary schools, the charter’s approval in January and the back and forth between the charter and RSS during the previous few months. Wilhelm noted RSS board members Travis Allen and Brian Hightower dissented on the vote to wait for the appraisal last week.

During the RSS meeting, Allen asked the board if it would help the charter move forward. There are a number of ways the district can dispose of the property according to state statute, including the upset bidding process that allows parties to make offers on the property until one wins out.

The academy board on Monday also discussed business in the run-up to its anticipated opening this fall. It viewed a draft calendar, updated its bylaws based on feedback from the state and heard a report from administrator Sarah Hensley about her interactions with parents who want to get their children into the school through the lottery system. Hensley also talked about early stages of staff applications.

Faith Academy is hoping to attract about 500 students for its first year, grades K-7, adding a grade level each year until the academy can serve K-12 students.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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