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RSS will start upset bid process on Faith Elementary after $300,000 offer

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education will move ahead with the next step in disposing of the Faith Elementary property after opting to entertain a new offer.

Faith Academy Charter School, which is planning to open its doors this fall, submitted a revised $300,000 offer on the property, increased from a $100,000 offer the RSS board first viewed two weeks ago. This is the charter’s third offer on the property, not counting a nominal offer made last year.

The charter rescinded a $250,000 offer on the property on Feb. 15 to continue with plans to place mobile units on a piece of Shiloh Reformed Church property for its first year of classes. The RSS board waited to receive an appraisal on the property until after the deadline on that offer.

The charter remained interested in the elementary property, wanting to acquire it as one of two planned permanent facilities in Faith, but Academy Board Chair George Wilhelm cited the need to move ahead with other preparations to ensure the school would have a location to begin classes.

The board accepted moving ahead with an upset bid process based on the offer in a 4-2 decision, with Vice Chair Alisha Byrd-Clark and member Jean Kennedy dissenting. Travis Allen was absent. Allen and board member Brian Hightower have both been critical of the board’s handling of the property.

The decision does not secure the property for Faith Academy. Other bidders will now be able to offer more for the property. Offers will continue until there are no higher bids.

Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann advised the board to only move ahead with the bid process if it felt comfortable accepting the academy’s in the absence of other bids.

Faith Elementary will close permanently as an RSS facility in June along with Enochville Elementary.

In other news from the meeting:

• The board received an update on the district’s Exceptional Children programming for the coming school year, including an overview of the programs offered to students who fall under the department’s purview and a breakdown of where the nearly 400 students fall within the program. There were no comments on the report other than Hightower expressing his appreciation for what the department does, which Board Chair Kevin Jones echoed.

• The district recognized Julia Sloop with an E3 award, named for the district’s motto “extraordinary education every day.” Sloop is the financial secretary for Knollwood and Mt. Ulla Elementary schools. She was recognized for her efficient contributions to both schools.

• The Exceptional Children Department raised more than $4,000 in total for the Special Olympics and the department also celebrated World Down Syndrome Day. The official date was Sunday but the department made a point of celebrating in class on Monday.

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