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Stanly school board chairman responds to consolidation calls

Stanly County School Board Chairman Melvin Poole defended the staff of Stanly County Schools during the board comments portion of Tuesday’s meeting.

Poole said he ran for school board to deal with school issues and not to “tell any local city council how to do their job.”

“At the same time, I don’t expect them to tell us how to do our job,” he said.

He said he would have a problem with school board members making attacks on other people’s turf and “likewise have a problem with them making an [attack] on our turf.”

Poole congratulated Albemarle High School Principal Emily Shaw for responding to an article in The Stanly News & Press where Mayor Ronnie Michael talked about consolidation of the high schools.

Poole said he did not want to get into a “political shoving match,” but it’s “fair for anybody in the public and anybody on elected boards to throw rocks at us.”

He said it is not acceptable for people to be “throwing rocks at the staff at the schools who are working their rear ends off to teach the kids. Either get in the program and contribute positive(ly) or keep your flipping mouth shut.”

The chairman said he would listen to criticism, but “leave the staff alone. It’s off limits like politician’s families…I hope the message is out. Either get on board and help the school board do its job or get out of the way.”

Board member Anthony Graves in his comments said he was “shocked” of the lack of public comment regarding consolidation.

“The only way we’re able to get to any type of resolution on this issue is by having conversations,” he said.

He hoped people in the next few months would present a consolidation plan to the school board.

Graves mentioned SCS’s efforts in testing the length of bus routes with the new staggered start schedule saying the earliest pickup time for a student was 6:03 a.m., which was the same time as last year. Superintendent Dr. Jeff James confirmed both simulations and actual physical runs came out with the same result.

The board also approved a one-year lease for the use of the art building at Norwood Elementary School for a Head Start program.

Save Our Children contracted with SCS to run the program for approximately 40 students in the art building, which was being used for storage.

The building qualifies for use in a head start program because of bathroom facilities, which maintenance director Todd Bowers said was necessary per federal regulation.

Students at the Head Start program will eat breakfast and lunch from the school cafeteria which will generate income for SCS.

The rate for Save Our Children has not been determined, but the rate will be “a fair market value,” according to Graves.

A motion to approve a one-year lease passed unanimously.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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