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RSS administration will recommend selling Faith Elementary property to charter school

SALISBURY — Local school administrators on Monday will recommend the sale of the Faith Elementary School property to Faith Academy Charter School.

The property would be available to the charter in June after its permanent closure as a Rowan-Salisbury Schools facility. The charter offered $300,000 for the property, and the district board began an upset bid process based on that offer at its last meeting. The Faith Academy offer was the highest received during the 10-day bidding period.

The charter has been making plans and spending money to bring mobile classrooms to a piece of Shiloh Reformed Church property. A previous $250,000 bid for the property expired while the RSS board was waiting for an appraisal, but the charter has remained hopeful it would still be able to secure the property in time to use it for its first year of classes this fall.

The charter’s long-term plans for the facility are to use it as its high school and build a K-8 facility on a nearby piece of property. Faith Academy this year will open serving about 500 students in grades K-7 and add a grade level each year until it is a K-12 institution.

Last week, academy board chair George Wilhelm said RSS and the academy would probably need an agreement by this week to use the facility for the coming school year. If another party had bid higher, it would have started another round of bidding that would have stretched into this week.

In other agenda items:

• The RSS board will view a recommended local budget. The budget, $38.7 million, is only the county-funded portion of the district’s $190 million annual budget. The county is responsible for all capital funding for the district used for projects such as building and renovating facilities, but the majority of its total funding comes from the state.

• Salisbury High School Principal Marvin Moore will present a proposed change to his school’s upcoming calendar, with late start time for students on Wednesday mornings.

Staff would arrive at the normal start time and students would begin arriving at 10 a.m. The gap between the traditional start time and 10 a.m. would be used by staff for professional development.

• East Rowan High School will also present a modified calendar proposal, which would add 10 elearning, or virtual, days to the school’s calendar during the year. The presentation outlines using the days for experiential learning.

• Director of Equity and Inclusion Cassandra Martin will present an update to the board. Martin has been meeting with groups within the school and the community. She will share some takeaways on the district’s desire to move toward equity and action to take in the coming year.

• The board will view new contracts for services totaling for $1.87 million to be paid out of a $26.3 million federal grant the district was awarded to accelerate renewal programs.

• This board will receive its regular COVID-19 update from associate superintendent Kelly Withers.

• Superintendent Tony Watlington will speak to the board about his first 100 days on the job.

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