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RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

SALISBURY – The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education on Monday approved the sale of the Faith Elementary property to Faith Academy Charter School.

The $300,000 sale will be effective June 18 after the permanent closure of Faith Elementary. The academy’s long-term intentions for the property are to turn it into its high school and build a facility for elementary and middle school grades.

The RSS board approved the sale by a 5-1 vote after and upset bid process didn’t produce any higher offers. Vice Chair Alisha Byrd-Clark was the one “no” vote on the sale. Chair Kevin Jones was absent.

The academy was awarded a charter by the state earlier this year and will begin its first year of classes this fall serving about 500 students grades K-7. It plans to add a grade level each year until it can serve students at every grade level.

Wilhelm said the academy will begin classes in the Faith Elementary buildings in its first school year. So, the decision on Monday effectively halted preparations for mobile units to be installed at a Shiloh Reformed Church — a plan on which the academy authorized about $40,000 in work.

The charter’s board suspected the school would close at some point after failed 2019 discussions about closing it along with Enochville Elementary, but organizers initially planned to either build a new facility or use mobile units for its first year of classes. The academy began spending to bring mobile units to a field behind Shiloh Reformed Church after a previous offer for $250,000 expired without RSS board action, but Wilhelm said the school was able to push back its timeline and work with its financier to secure funding for a follow-up offer.

Faith Academy will still need to lease a mobile unit to place at the Faith Elementary property because the charter has already outgrown the 440-student capacity school.

Most of the fixed equipment in the building will stay, but certain pieces are not. Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann pointed to some cafeteria equipment, which is federally funded, as an example. Equipment not staying as part of the sale will need to be removed or, alternatively, Faith Academy can pay the district’s nutrition department for the equipment.

Playground equipment could also be among the items not staying. Vann said some pieces were purchased by community members who want them to be moved to schools Faith Elementary students will be moved to. In the case of some equipment, it may not be worthwhile for the district to move it, but it can do so at the request of the academy.

While Faith Academy continues to teach students in classrooms, it has about $3.4 million in capital needs, according to Rowan-Salisbury Schools, including repairs to the roof and paving. The academy plans to make the upgrades over time. RSS was already spending money to make repairs at the school.

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