RSS Board of Education to receive update on K-8 project, considers 2022-2023 schedule – Salisbury Post


SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education is expected to receive an update Monday on the district’s K-8 project to combine the populations of Knox Middle School and Overton Elementary.

The meeting will begin at 4 p.m. Monday at the Wallace Educational Forum on North Main Street in Salisbury. The meeting can be attended in person or viewed at vimeo.com/rssboe.

The new facility is expected to be built in the space between Knox and Overton. The latest floor plan concepts include three floors. The school would accommodate more than 800 students, with a capacity of 1,000 students expandable to 1,200.

On Monday, operations manager Anthony Vann will speak to the board about the high material costs for the project. The presentation includes a slide showing that material costs have stabilized somewhat, but are still higher than in early 2020 when the project was first approved.

The presentation includes cost savings opportunities to reduce the project cost estimate from nearly $70 million to the original estimate of $55 million, including the reduction or removal of equipment such as sidewalks and one or all of the tennis courts.

There is also a list of small area cutting options and classroom combinations that could help save on the project. However, there is a possibility of getting additional millions in funding. The district is eligible to apply for the Needs-Based Public Schools Capital Fund.

Historically, grants were only available to the most economically challenged counties in the state classified as Tier 1 counties by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. A few years ago, the grants were opened to less distressed counties that fall under Tier 2. However, the grants have always favored Tier 1 counties.

Rowan was upgraded from Tier 2 to Tier 1 in 2020, but moved back up to Tier 2 in 2021. The program offers up to $30 million for elementary schools and $40 million for colleges with a district match .

Applications are due in March and awards announcements in April.

Other items on the agenda:

• The board will consider three options for the school calendar for the 2022-2023 school year. All three would start classes on August 10 and end classes on May 24.

They also include two-week breaks in December, a full week for spring break, e-learning on election days, more work days at the start of the year, and e-learning days due professional training required by the State.

The first option places graduation on May 27, 2023 and the last 10-month staff day on May 30.

The second option places graduation on May 26, with a first day of work on August 2 and a last day of work on May 26 for 10-month staff.

The last option places graduation on May 25 with the same working days as the second option.

• Director of Student Services, April Kuhn, will present proposed revisions to the Student Code of Conduct.

Kuhn will speak to the board about instructional days lost due to out-of-school suspension at each high school and propose that the district consider updating the two-point code of conduct. The first is aggressive behavior. Violations can result in suspension and Kuhn will discuss describing the district as broad and the range of consequences being broad.

The second will be vaping, noting that consequences are inconsistent in high schools.

• The district will consider granting Duke Energy an easement near Mt. Ulla Elementary School. The easement is part of Duke’s upgrades to the power lines and will add a pole to the corner of the school property.

• Superintendent Andrew Smith will present a pair of school board policy updates. The policies include adding requirements for a mental health training program and updating the remote meeting attendance policy to comply with new state law.

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