Rowan-Salisbury Schools wants to purchase Richard’s Barbecue

Published 7:40 pm Monday, April 11, 2022

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education is contracting to purchase the Richard’s Barbecue facility adjacent to Wallace Educational Forum.

The board unanimously approved pursuing the purchase as outlined in a contract presented to them Monday night. The price is $440,00 with a $44,000 deposit.

Chief Operating Officer Anthony Vann told the board the facility could be used to expand career and technical education opportunities and culinary services through the district’s school nutrition department.

RSS Board Chair Dean Hunter asked how the money will be appropriated. Vann said the recommendation is to pay for the purchase from the district’s capital fund balance, which is sitting at about $2 million.

There are some conditions attached to the purchase, including:

• The Rowan County Board of Commissioners must approve the purchase.

• The schools have to determine there are no engineering issues with the property.

• There are no property issues due to rock or soil conditions.

The parking lot areas of Wallace and Richard’s are already connected.

Vann told the Post there is no specific plan for the working restaurant facility yet, but there is a lot of opportunity for the district’s students in the facility because of its proximity, certified kitchen and dining space.

“We’re excited for the possibility of finalizing it, get a solid plan and moving forward with it,” Vann said. “I think it’ll help our students, I really do.”

In other news from the meeting:

• The board named new finance staff. Faith Lambeth is the new chief financial officer for the district, Kimberly Dawn Saunders is director of payroll. Pam York was promoted to executive director of finance.

• The board approved sending a $42 million local budget request to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. That request is a $5 million increase over what the commissioners funded the district for the current fiscal year. The commissioners cut about $500,000 from the local funding for the schools in 2021 despite increasing costs.

• The majority of the requested increase will go to a combination of funding state-mandated salary increases, hospitalization and retirement contributions and funding the recommendations of a salary study the district completed last year.

• The board placed approval of an update on the district’s career and technical education programs on the consent agenda for its next meeting on April 25. Interim CTE Director Dominique Bates talked to the board about the high metrics of the programs and the goals for the coming school year.

Those goals include increasing enrollment and completion of the department’s programs, more development for teachers, increasing the number of industry credentials awarded to students, getting students placed in jobs after high school and evaluating their career pathways.

• The board viewed language updates to its policies on demoting, dismissing and suspending employees. The previous language was adopted in 2015 and the updates are intended to keep the policies up-to-date with state law.

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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