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New $100,000 offer on Faith Elementary property is good for 60 days

FAITH — The new charter school opening this fall submitted a new offer of $100,000 to Rowan-Salisbury Schools, hoping to purchase the Faith Elementary property. But the charter is already spending money on installing mobile units and is on a tight deadline.

Faith Academy, which was awarded its charter in January, plans to open for classes in August. When Faith Elementary was tapped for closure by the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education last year, the charter’s board wanted to acquire the property for its own use.

However, the charter’s original $250,000 bid expired on Feb. 15 and the school’s board rescinded the offer so it could make preparations to install mobile classrooms on Shiloh Reformed Church’s property. The RSS board opted to wait for an appraisal on the property, which came a week after the offer expired.

Academy board chair George Wilhelm said the school has already spent $40,000 on site engineering for the mobile project and began doing so because it has to meet its timeline to open in the fall with no guarantee for the elementary school property.

“We weren’t anticipating them closing it this year originally,” Wilhelm said.

The academy came back with a new offer for $100,000 on the school. Wilhelm said the lower offer is the result of the school’s other financial commitments, but it is still possible for the school to use the facility if a deal happens quickly. The new offer is good for 60 days. Wilhelm said the school has to sign a lease on modular classrooms in about 30 days, 45 at the latest, but the offer would stand.

RSS board member Travis Allen made a motion to amend Monday’s regular meeting agenda to entertain offers on the property, but the motion failed. The board had just ended its closed session and spent about an hour in closed session at the beginning of the meeting as well.

Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann confirmed the district has received the offer.

Wilhelm has been given authority by the charter board to negotiate with RSS. If the offer is entertained, it would start an upset bid process where other interested parties could counter bid on the property. Wilhelm said the school would have to speak to its developer if there is a higher bid.

The mobile units are only planned for the first year. The school also has plans to build a new facility near the Faith Elementary property with the goal of having two facilities to host grades K-12 in the long run. It will open serving students K-7.

The academy is planning to open this fall and will hold an enrollment lottery on March 13. The school is still accepting applications, but students who apply now will be placed on a wait list. It plans to enroll about 500 students its first year.

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