AHS to become a magnet school?

bulldog nation2014

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Btango fantastic job and I second what Buddy said. Please correct me if I am wrong as this is just my opinion from what you previously mentioned here.

From what I am reading ACS was doing a good job with Budget prior to the merger giving them $2million in reserves plus they were spending a great deal per child which I think you will agree was a good thing.

SCS couldn't get it's act together from a financial standpoint even then causing them to struggle inevitably causing the merger between ACS and SCS in 1997 and allowing SCS access to the $2million.

Since 1997 the SCS board has essentially continued to fail all schools and not only draining that reserve but also not doing the necessary items to improve the education of our county schools which also includes ACS.

Even now the people you spoke with are not happy with the closure of ACS and believe there are other options and this is a severe and drastic measure, which seems to be a drastic measure.

Again from what you wrote I believe I understand why the people of the community voted down the proposed tax because of the proven inability to manage funds.

What REALLY concerns me is I have not heard anything in regards to a plan through this process on how our education system is going to get better. Closing AHS and SSHS is not going to make our education system better. They are promising teachers will keep there jobs through this process and I honestly believe that is hogwash. Building 2 new state of the art schools is not going to improve our education system. You put makeup on a pig it's still a pig. Opening a stem magnet school is not going to help our schools get better academically. Bring in better teachers for a magnet why not bring in better teachers for our schools lol.

The fundamental problem of our county one is the board hopefully this one is better but by following the history of it I personally don't think it will be. Too much bias and politics for that to happen. That is what is killing our schools. If you read what you wrote everything goes right back to the same problem.
 

Buddy Rich

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I have been trying to find out who is on the board, but to no avail. I only know 2 members by name but would like to know who these people are. Think there are 9 members on the board, but not sure. I have googled everything I know and can't find it. Can anybody help me out?
 

Buddy Rich

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Finally found it. There are 7 board members including the chairman and also what district they represent.
 

bulldog nation2014

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Yeah I was getting ready to post the names emails and contact info for the board members. Do you know any of them Buddy?
 

Buddy Rich

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The only one I know is Dr. Mills the board chairman. Her daughter and my daughter were in school together. She is well educated and seems to be a good person, but don't know where she stands in all of this.
 

Dogs9

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Btango you mentioned to Buddy Rich about how people were concerned about the YMCA after Wiscassett stopped funding it Well it did stay open but you sure could't join for $5 like you could when I was a kid. I remember when the County Commission pressured Albemarle City Schools to join the county system. They said the state would force all counties to be under one system but even today there are counties with both city and county school systems. One of the main commissioners who was behind this was a former local car dealership owner and everyone saw what he did with his family's business. I attended Albemarle and all my kids did but I have to admit the school has changed but I feel it has also been given a bad rap. I still think redistricting would help the situation at Albemarle and they need someone like Dave Bright back in the principal's job.
 

bulldog nation2014

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Dogs9 very good points!!! Could you imagine if the YMCA closed with all the great things it does for our community? I have never seen a YMCA do more for it's community than this YMCA and I have lived in CA OH IN NV and NC. A lot of what they do the majority of people don't know about because it is not publicize it.

In regards to AHS I agree 100%. Of course the school has changed and their are fundamental problems with the county schools. I believe the expectation of avg is ok and that in itself lies a problem. Even through all of this and the research I have done on this topic I have heard zero about what they are going to do to address the fundamental problems and that is a problem. Closing a school or two will not fix the problems. We need a city school and we need to address the fundamental issues and set a expectation of excellence from coaches to teachers to admin.
 

btango

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Originally posted by Dogs9:
I have to admit the school has changed but I feel it has also been given a bad rap. I still think redistricting would help the situation at Albemarle and they need someone like Dave Bright back in the principal's job.
The principal they have now is sharp and she is a ball buster but even when Coach Bright was there complaints about the school were very strong. Not sure if it the principal or a situation of all components having issues. Obviously the principal is the leader but if people do not follow the lead you are much more limited there with what you can do than with a private business. It is a school in a school system and from living in NYC, LA, Charlotte, Cabarrus County, and Albemarle we always hear complaints. People get fired up about their kids which is a good thing.

One of my fondest memories is when they tried to fire Charles Whitley, the principal at AHS in the last 70's and early 80's. They said there were issues with misappropriation of funds. Were going to fire him but he ended up keeping his job. The school system offices then were in one of the houses behind the present day Central School.

This post was edited on 2/1 2:02 PM by btango
 

btango

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Originally posted by bulldog nation2014:
Btango fantastic job and I second what Buddy said. Please correct me if I am wrong as this is just my opinion from what you previously mentioned here.

1.
From what I am reading ACS was doing a good job with Budget prior to the merger giving them $2million in reserves plus they were spending a great deal per child which I think you will agree was a good thing.

2. SCS couldn't get it's act together from a financial standpoint even then causing them to struggle inevitably causing the merger between ACS and SCS in 1997 and allowing SCS access to the $2million.

3. Since 1997 the SCS board has essentially continued to fail all schools and not only draining that reserve but also not doing the necessary items to improve the education of our county schools which also includes ACS.

4. Even now the people you spoke with are not happy with the closure of ACS and believe there are other options and this is a severe and drastic measure, which seems to be a drastic measure.

5. Again from what you wrote I believe I understand why the people of the community voted down the proposed tax because of the proven inability to manage funds.

6. What REALLY concerns me is I have not heard anything in regards to a plan through this process on how our education system is going to get better. Closing AHS and SSHS is not going to make our education system better. They are promising teachers will keep there jobs through this process and I honestly believe that is hogwash. Building 2 new state of the art schools is not going to improve our education system. You put makeup on a pig it's still a pig. Opening a stem magnet school is not going to help our schools get better academically. Bring in better teachers for a magnet why not bring in better teachers for our schools lol.

The fundamental problem of our county one is the board hopefully this one is better but by following the history of it I personally don't think it will be. Too much bias and politics for that to happen. That is what is killing our schools. If you read what you wrote everything goes right back to the same problem.
I numbered your remarks to help me.

I would have thought you were an attorney but I know all the ones in Albemarle so I know this not to be so.

1. They did a good job but as I wrote even the ACS admin was starting to see issues and knew that current situation was not sustainable. I think one thing that people do not understand is that Albemarle is healthier than many equivalent towns and part of that is it has its own water system and power grid. Those took major hits with the factories closing and the budget was changing drastically.

2. SCS and the Stanly County Commissioners could have levied a school tax just as Albemarle had in place for over sixty years. Not sure but I think they had failed in attempting to get one to pass although there may have been some time limited ones that did. No idea. May be wrong but I think that when systems merged, unless one shut down on its own, that the system that paid the highest amount per child would be used or something along those lines. I am sure there are some caveats. I think Albemarle started cutting the tax prior to the merger that allowed a lower amount to be used. As noted sustainability was seen as an issue. At that time the strongest industrial center was Albemarle. Everything was in Albemarle with very little in Locust. It is not that way any longer. You do not know the Albemarle of 1957, 67, 77, and even 87. new_dawg wrote about it in his post.

3. I am sure many would debate that but I would agree based on the little I know.

4. Not happy with the closure but both stated that there were tough times ahead. Remember part of the reason a school system with 1,800 students would spend more per student than a system with 8,000 is simple math. It takes more money per student when you have that many less students. If each system has the same amount of children per school although more schools there is going to be some overlap in positions. If you go in evenly to buy a house at the beach with seven other people it will cost you less than if you go in with one other person. That is a little skewed but you will split one power bill, one lawn company, one repair bill, et al. With that said I do think that sometimes a smaller system make can overcome some costs that the larger one cannot. It is the old deal, "if money were not an issue."

5. America is anti tax hike right now and Stanly County is heavy conservative Republican. That would be the first two reasons but your reason probably is high. The tax was a sales tax so it hits everyone, not just the middle class or wealthier group of citizens or property owners. I like the sales tax much better personally. It distributes the cost more evenly among the citizens and people who pay no property or income taxes also participate based on their spending habits. Grocery stores should be exempt except for cigarettes and alcohol.

6. May be the best teachers will keep their jobs. There will still be the same amount of students so I would think that the loss of teaching positions would be limited to a large degree to standard attrition. Just as you say closing AHS and SSHS will not make it better I am sure they are saying leaving them both open will not make it better. They are not building two schools, if they were building two new schools and shutting all four down and no magnet I think this would be an idea that would not get as much negative response. I support that idea in theory.

You are on the inside at Albemarle, is the teacher turnover not high? It appears they cannot keep a lot of the good ones. I am not sure Stanly County has a line of top notch teachers calling for jobs. I know when the West Stanly football position came open they thought that seasoned veteran head coaches would call. I tried to get some high caliber assistant coaches to look at it. The one they got is a sharp guy but he only came due a crazy snafu at another school that caused a principal to be relieved.
 

bulldog nation2014

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I agree the principal at AHS now does a good job. She has faced a lot of resistance in making changes. But no question about it she loves this school and loves these kids. The new teachers hired seem to be good and highly qualified teachers. Nothing gets better over night but from my prospective seems like she is moving the school in the right direction.
 

btango

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Greystone opened 12 or more years ago. The main reason that the idea got off the ground for a charter school was many graduates of local schools that went to colleges that were on the tougher side academically relayed that they were overwhelmed and under prepared. This got parents looking into alternatives. Since then we have seen at least one private open in Locust that offers high school. I know of Stanly County parents that have taken their children to private schools in Concord and Meck County. Each charter school has a mission and Greystone is to prepare students for college. Some are for industrial related or to help disadvantaged youth, or specialize toward one curriculum.

The toughest obstacles for charters are often that they must cover the cost of their own building and facilities which was helped dramatically by Pfeiffer allowing Greystone the use of a building at close to zero costs. One item that hurt them from probably having more students is they do not (and as a charter are not) required to provide transportation. It appears they have room to grow so possibly more Stanly County and specifically North and Albemarle students may opt for the charter if the schools continue to be perceived as falling further behind.
 

bulldog nation2014

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They did have a high turnover last year. One teacher who was fantastic and orginally from this area moved due to his wife getting a D1 coaching job for Lacrosse. He was the ap biology teacher I believe as well as taught another class. But he also coaches the Jv bball team. He was excellent. A couple of them retired I believe and two went to different school districts that paid alittle better or something. The teachers we replaced them with, except a couple we lost are better overall. I think teaching wise 9-12 we are on the right track we just need to continue to get better. There were two teachers particularly that were hired that are overly qualified. Of course our AD we brought in is young but is learning and IMHO one of the best in the county. With experience he will be great. I personally like SS AD as well. We have a fantastic trainer in a program in which we partnered with the hospital and we are getting some awesome equipment in that from an athletics prospective has been awesome. Our kids are getting the treatment they have never experienced before. It's been great on that level.

Honestly IMHO AHS can be better but you can see things changing for the better. The principal is not perfect and I do not agree with her on everything but when she sees a issue or a issue is brought to her attention she spearheads it lol. I respect that. She is at almost every event for the school and cheers and supports us athletically along with her whole family which is great. I will give you an example of a way she has handled a situation. With the whole football incident. That was really a perfect storm in all reality. Wes being inexperienced plus Doug being a first year head coach that type of thing will happen. Immediately a change in procedure was in place. As coaches now once our eligibility sheets are filled out and completed we MUST meet with her and Wes where all 3 will review documents and sign the sheet at one time, therefore eliminating the small chance at a mistake.

IMHO that's the person needed for AHS. Like her or not lol. IMHO I would like to see all coaches make tutoring mandatory for kids that are struggling. My team knows if you struggle goto tutoring they don't even ask it's the expectation. They just bring me the slip and get the practice gear on. Lol.

I believe we have to continue to get better teachers in that want to help kids and willing to get involved. I believe after last year the turnover will be minimal, well maybe not now with this mess.

The community and school board should NEVER push back when it involves our kids. Do whatever is necessary to improve their education. That should be the focus here. Closing AHS will only hide the struggling kids not deal with the issue at hand. IMHO.
 

bulldog nation2014

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In regards to graystone. It is not a surprise they are successful the majority of their kids are higher income families. Those kids typically are better students. Based off a nationwide avg. PLUS graystone gets county money and charter money so they have the additonal resources to do better by their kids. Atleast to my knowledge.
 

Dogs9

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Gray Stone has a capacity that they are at now. They have a certain number that they basically can't go over. In all honesty Gray Stone is a school that is legally segregated. Look at how few minorities are enrolled in the school.
 

btango

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Originally posted by Dogs9:
Gray Stone has a capacity that they are at now. They have a certain number that they basically can't go over. In all honesty Gray Stone is a school that is legally segregated. Look at how few minorities are enrolled in the school.
I thought with the new land they were given they had space to add. I think it is better for the public schools if it is maxed.

I agree that it is legal segregation because of the logistical obstacles that many lower income students would face. Some of the charters have the exact opposite racial makeup so it works both ways but they seem to be too extreme either way.
 

btango

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Originally posted by bulldog nation2014:
In regards to graystone. It is not a surprise they are successful the majority of their kids are higher income families. Those kids typically are better students. Based off a nationwide avg. PLUS graystone gets county money and charter money so they have the additonal resources to do better by their kids. Atleast to my knowledge.
What has helped Greystone is that Pfeiffer has provided assistance. You see a lot of charters struggle and fail because they have to go out and rent or purchase a facility. Greystone had strong founders that did a lot of work to make it happen and they caught a perfect storm. Pfeiffer had space and was looking for ways to entice more people to campus and hopefully to enroll, the public schools were having issues, and people got involved. At the end of the day community and parental involvement is huge.
 

bulldog nation2014

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I agree Btango. In regards to the tax you brought up earlier in regards to republicans not wanting more taxes. What the people in general are tired of and I believe this to be the case on both sides is the waste. Or promising this and that out of this tax and not getting it. NC taxes everything and that's a problem. How can you tax everything and still be struggling to finance critical government programs the answer to that is waste. In regards to the tax FOR schools. I personally believe knowing a lot of people in all schools that if this tax was for schools specifically it would have passed. But for schools and emergency communications leaves a grey area. That shows that people are not confident in our leaders to allocate properly.

The community is extremely supportive of our schools which I believe you will see Tuesday at the board meeting they are tired of the BS and want things better.
 

jabr

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Bulldog,,,,,,,2014, I believe if you ask most of the staff they would seem to differ. I believe you said you're a lay coach so you might not be aware of the inner workings. She needs to worry about how she runs the school instead of worrying about who brings drinks into the gym. JMHO
 

bulldog nation2014

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Ouch hard feelings on the drink thing lol. I think the only reason they are trying to control that is because of the mess left behind and spills on the new court. As a person who often cleaned the gym it's not pleasant.


In regards to the principal I am not sure what they would differ on. We need somebody who will spearhead issues and problems. She has faced a lot of resistance and I said that I didn't agree with her on everything. I don't know everything that happens except with my kids. I don't get involved in everything my responsibility is my kids and getting them to college.

I know the situations I have dealt with her directly on and have seen that's what I have based my opinion on.
This post was edited on 2/1 5:33 PM by bulldog nation2014
 

WARRIOR_PRIDE2005

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I just heard a report that the NC education system is under a 1 Billion dollar shortfall. How? Government at its best!!!!!!!
 

bulldog nation2014

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Hahaha very good question. Not properly allocating funds. You know something that has interested me I am going to look into is what's the states and county operating budget compared to some other states and successful districts.
 

Buddy Rich

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It's going to be real interesting to see what happens at the board meeting tomorrow night. I expect a large turnout of concerned citizens to be present. Not sure how it works, but can people have their sayso or do you have to sign up prior to the meeting to be able to speak?
 

exsshs

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Norwood Town Mgr and Mayor are putting things together to present at one of the mtgs. Their concern is not only the long distance Norwood area kid's will have to travel but what impact the loss of a school will do to future growth. If I were a young married person with young kids I would not build or buy a house in Norwood if my kids had to travel that far to school.
 

Dogs9

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Exsshs that is a very good point about people not wanting to build or buy a new house in South's district if they have school age kids.Buddy you probably have to call in advance if you want to speak at the meetings but I'm not sure what their official procedure is.
 

btango

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exsshs if South Stanly Middle School became the "new" Norwood Elementary would that be a negative or a positive? I know there would be more travel but they would have much newer and better equipped building.

The reason Norwood and Albemarle are in this situation has a lot to do with neither town growing. The question becomes when does too small of an enrollment equal closing the school.
 

btango

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Buddy, at most board meetings they have an early sign up that is required in order to speak and the speaker's go in order they signed up. This allows them to allot time. Be prepared, this meeting could go past midnight.

What do you plan to say to them?
 

bulldog nation2014

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That's not true Btango for Albemarle. It may not being growing at the rate that union counties and cabarrus counties are but from 2012 to current it has grown. I'm not sure about Norwood, better facilities don't equal better education. The academics is what our focus needs to be as that is the fundamental problem. Of course we all want better newer nicer schools but I would much rather have better academics for my kids the new schools can come later.
 

exsshs

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It would be a positive because it's newer and has a usable gym but an overall negative due to losing the High School. Kids living out Indian Mound road, in the Fork area of Norwood, down 731, or in Piney Point would have to travel well over an hour to get to W Stanly. I assure you if Todd Swaringen (who represents S Stanly area) lived in either of these locations he wouldn't be so quick to support closing Norwood or S Stanly. His kids are in the Aquadale district and both he and his wife work in Alb, so his kids will be much less affected. They will go to elem school at Aquadale, then SSMS (whichever location), then likely the Magnet school. Alb is straight up Aquadale road. Go drive from any of the locations I mentioned to W Stanly HS and see how long it takes. All the roads are very curvy. I wouldn't want my kids riding a bus or car that far, on that route on a a daily basis. Also there are young couples currently buying houses in Norwood. Maybe the death rate equals those coming in but if none come in then it will decline.
 

btango

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Originally posted by bulldog nation2014:
That's not true Btango for Albemarle. It may not being growing at the rate that union counties and cabarrus counties are but from 2012 to current it has grown. I'm not sure about Norwood, better facilities don't equal better education. The academics is what our focus needs to be as that is the fundamental problem. Of course we all want better newer nicer schools but I would much rather have better academics for my kids the new schools can come later.
Per the US Census Albemarle's population increased by 1.6% to 15,932 from 2000 to 2012. In 2010 it was 15,903. That is less than a 250 person increase in 13 years. Looking at life expectancy and birth rates I would think that the people moving out is more than the people moving in but I that is only a guess and yes "moving out" would include deaths.

Lets look at Albemarle HS enrollment. This is not an true indicator of population but it does show a trend that is obviously dependent somewhat on alternative education and it is not due to the district lines being reduced for Albemarle as they have expanded since the merger.

1973 over 850 (including the freshman class then located at the junior high school)

2001 660
2004 691 (peak)
2007 589 (first year under 600)
2010 531
2012 489 (first year under 500)
2014 470

As a whole the county has dropped 1,030 students since the 2004-2005 school year. That is a loss of 10.6%. The high schools have seen a 23% drop.

Albemarle 691 - 470 (peak 691 in 2004 using 2000 forward data)
North 771-591 (peak 800 2006)
South 500 - 441 (peak 573 in 2006)
West 1,045-822 (peak 1,045 in 2004)
Total 3,007 - 2,324

It is my understanding that no one high school has over sixty students at Greystone and that North Stanly has the most.

If a school is in disrepair that is a problem. I agree an excellent education is not dependent on a superior facility. I will take great teachers any day but if a better option is available and the current school is in need of extensive repair and upgrades then the move has to be looked at. Currently Norwood is at 68% capacity.

This post was edited on 2/2 2:56 PM by btango
 

btango

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Originally posted by bulldog nation2014:
No sir from what I was told last night that $225k was without adding new programs.
That number incorrect per the documentation that is available. The net amount is approximately $603,000 and that is after the redistricting is complete and all new programs are in place. Also, it appears there will be more teaching positions (at least by Plan A).

To the people that continuously say that this only about money or finances note that the main reasons this is being pushed is to offer a more in-depth curriculum to all grades, to offer more advanced courses to high school students, and to prepare for continued reduction in state money for the schools. I honestly believe that what the board/system is doing now is not a necessity but in a few years it will be and at that time the options may not be as plentiful or attractive as the ones available currently.

This post was edited on 2/2 2:58 PM by btango
 

btango

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Originally posted by bulldog nation2014:
I have to disagree. No disrespect to you Btango.
None taken whatsoever. I want as much back and forth as possible on this to get as many answers as possible. I want the information to be factual. With that I am not sure which of my posts or parts of them you disagree with or if it is all of them. As far as data that is all information I gathered this weekend.

I am neutral at this time on Plan A or Plan B or possibly no move. I do lean to one of those needs to be put in place. I do think that the students that are being left out now are the brightest students at the three smaller schools that have not opted to attend Greystone or private.

I am not sure if a new plan will be a positive or negative for the other groups of students.

I do have a concern if Oakboro closes and Albemarle HS remains open that we will see an issue with Stanfield, Locust, and / or Endy going well over capacity with anticipated growth in that area. Need to look at the numbers a little closer. I do not want children, whether high school or elementary, in mobile units. Not good at all for various reasons.
 

bulldog nation2014

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There are kids already in mobile units at south and north. Additionally how are the brightest kids being left out currently? I have multiple kids with 4.0+ on a weighted scale attending ap classes etc. There are fundamental problems here with academics and it has nothing to do with closing high schools. The population here is not decreasing from 2000 to present according to the census report I looked at. Additionally incomes have risen, not a lot but have gone up. Do we need more business absolutely. Will we attract high tech jobs? No, at that point we would be competing with the triangle and there is no way we compete with them. We have a blue collar community and we need to attract manufacturing type companies. That is not a school thing that's a government thing. School wise better more experienced teachers and a stronger curriculum not this common core crap.

One huge problem is we are losing our best teachers to out of state jobs. Our teachers especially our best ones are under valued and under paid. NC charges a lot more taxes than ohio and yet nc has a budget shortfall. Go figure. Sounds like our government and people in authorities decisions need to get their priorities right.

Closing a hs or threatening to do so will not solve the problem just create more. Just like they thought going to a court school system would be the way to go and all it has done is hurt what was the better school in the county.
 

btango

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The US Census Bureau numbers I saw for 2010 to 2013 was an increase of 105 citizens for Albemarle and fifty for Stanly County.

My reason for noting the higher academic achievement students is because of the number that opt for Greystone over staying. In addition with the loss of a strong percentage of students leaving that would select AP, college prep, or honors style courses brings the overall number down and normally less class offerings. There would be more of these classes offered in the two plans. One would bring more high academic students together and one would allow for larger schools. If you only have three students that want to take auto mechanics you probably will not have a class but if you have six you may be able to justify the cost. I think smaller schools offer a lot of advantages but you have to question when is a school too small and does that require a change such as what is being looked at.

One thing I have learned a 4.0 at school A may not be the same as a 4.0 at school B which may not be equivalent to school C. If you lose 10-15 of the top 25 students from a class of 100-130 students the curve just lowered.
 

btango

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Originally posted by bulldog nation2014:

One huge problem is we are losing our best teachers to out of state jobs. Our teachers especially our best ones are under valued and under paid. NC charges a lot more taxes than ohio and yet nc has a budget shortfall. Go figure. Sounds like our government and people in authorities decisions need to get their priorities right.

Closing a hs or threatening to do so will not solve the problem just create more. Just like they thought going to a court school system would be the way to go and all it has done is hurt what was the better school in the county.
Stanly County cut the coaches supplements by 20% (or 25%) a few years ago and also took off the longevity raises. Add to the low pay already in NC and states see NC as a poaching ground for teachers.

We do not know what the situation would be with Albemarle HS had the merger not happened. That is speculation. That is what the people I spoke to said and the realization of not sustaining what they had was a major issue in not fighting it further. Some think it may have gotten to the point where the merger would have taken place anyway. The dollar per student was going to drop based on budgets and city income. As I noted one reason the city spent more per student was due to being smaller it takes more per students to make the machine run.
 

btango

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Originally posted by bulldog nation2014:
There are kids already in mobile units at south and north.
Current school enrollment capacity without including mobile classroom space.

South Stanly is at 64% capacity without including mobile space.

West Stanly 95.8%.

North Stanly 89%.

Albemarle 62%.

I think these numbers are a reason not to close Albemarle for one year but transition straight into the magnet school if that is the option they take. Also, the numbers are why there are additions planned for the two remaining district schools.

Only using the BOE numbers there will be less than 400 students to send to North and West with the magnet and South closed. I expect to be more the first two to four years.

Based on current 6th - 8th grade numbers Albemarle and South are expected to have smaller high school enrollments in the next five years than they currently have. Albemarle MS currently has 155 8th graders compared to 129 freshman. The 7th grade has 144 and 6th 131. Other than AMS having 19 more 6th graders the numbers for 7th and 8th are nearly identical to South's current numbers for the same grades. Central and East have combined have almost indentical numbers as the current freshman class.

Stanly Community Early College has 204 students. The Learning Academy has 33.
 

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