The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 22, 2013

Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy may soon be in Stanly County

By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer

Friday, February 22, 2013 — The Stanly County Board of Education met on Tuesday night for the purpose of having a special closed session, with a work session following.

When the board came back into open session from its special meeting, it had two announcements to make.

The board voted to send a letter of intent to the Army National Guard offering  the facility of New London Choice Middle School as the location for a Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy in Stanly County.

Nothing has been set in stone, as of yet. The board simply voted to draft a letter of intent.

Also, the board voted to allow its attorney to list the old Central School building as a commercial property for sale in the amount of $150,000.

The work session was basically divided into two segments, a sort of review on the last chapters of the work book and an open forum.

Some of the subjects discussed while going through the workbook were alignment, climate and culture, collaboration and community engagement, continuous improvement and becoming an information age board of education. Through each one of these topics, Dr. Terry Griffin, superintendent, related it to SCS, making it about how the school board should utilize these ideas.

Next, the board moved into an open forum that had one item listed under the agenda, the redistricting study.

“It didn’t help me a lot as far as in terms of what we should do,” said Grant Allen, board member.

“We didn’t get the information that I think we needed from the study.

“My opinion of redistricting is if you’re not growing at an extensive level, don’t talk about it. Don’t upset people, because that’s what you’re going to end up doing.”

Vice Chairman Jeff Chance echoed Allen’s sentiments.

“This is not necessarily what we were looking for. They took it on a numbers basis, none of which meets our needs,” said Chance.

He expressed that the study presented no specific scenarios, but rather featured demographics.

Both Chance and Allen agreed that the longer they look at the study, the more confused they get.

One of the reasons redistricting is being called for is because of course offerings between the different schools. Dr. Griffin implied that a way to fix the course offerings is to provide more electronic courses and online opportunities so that students will have more choices. This could provide an alternative to redistricting.

Chance proposed that they have someone who conducted the study come in at a work session and explain some of the parts of the study.

Dr. Griffin promised to look into getting some more information about bringing someone from the study back in.

Board member Mike Barbee brought up another subject during open forum, the growing dissatisfaction with the state of schools out in the western part of the county.

There is talk about establishing a charter school in the western part of the county, and Barbee wanted the board to look into doing something so that SCS doesn’t end up losing students.

Barbee proposed that a tentative way of keeping students in West Stanly would be to build a choice K-8 school.

In this regard, there was heavy discussion about sending out a survey to see if the residents of West Stanly were interested in a choice K-8 or some other type of school.

While no decisions were made, the board recognized that it is going to have to do something to keep competing with private education.

“If we’re going to keep kids, we’re going to have to do something,” said Chairman Melvin Poole.

Poole concluded the meeting by reminding everyone to keep the discussions open and not jump to any conclusions.

To submit story ideas, contact Ian Faulkner at or (704) 982-2121 ext. 21.