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Albemarle council meeting ends with tension over schools

There was tension during closing remarks of the Albemarle City Council meeting Monday night as a councilwoman confronted the mayor.

Councilwoman Shirley Lowder was concerned with recent remarks Mayor Ronnie Michael made in The Stanly News & Press regarding consolidation in Stanly County Schools.

“We have not discussed it (consolidation) in our meetings,” she said, adding “it’s not our business” but rather a school board issue.

She said she was concerned that since Michael spoke about consolidation, it seemed like the whole council supported the option.

“Mrs. Lowder, it (the comments) didn’t come from this council, it came from me,” he said. “I have the right to say anything I want to say.”

Michael added that as mayor, he represents 16,000 people in the city, including the members of the council.

Councilman Chris Bramlett said he agreed with Michael’s comments about supporting consolidation.

Two major drawbacks to economic development in Stanly County have been internet service and the schools, he said.

But he said while internet service has been improved, “we’ve got problems with our schools…and need to get them improved,” he said.

Bramlett said the county will never have four small great high schools.

“There is no way on God’s green earth you can do that,” he said.

Four small schools cannot offer the quality courses that bigger, more populated schools enjoy, he said.

Bramlett said he has not seen anything coming out of the school board that makes him believe they know what needs to be done.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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