By Jillian McCartney, Salisbury Post
A proposed redistricting plan for the Rowan-Salisbury Schools will change attendance zones for the seven middle schools, sending Southeast Middle School students to two high schools instead of four.
This fall, Southeast Middle School will send 62 rising ninth-graders to East Rowan High School, 46 to South Rowan, 69 to West Rowan and 57 to Salisbury.
Of the Salisbury High students, 28 will come from a special choice zone. They are currently assigned to another high school but have chosen to attend Salisbury, which is currently below capacity and trying to recruit more students.
If the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education approves the new redistricting plan, Southeast Middle students would go on to two high schools -- West or a new high school school officials want to build in southeast Rowan.
The redistricting plan is tied to a school bond issue that would pay for the new high school, two new elementary schools and additions at several existing schools.
Erwin is currently the largest middle school, with about 890 students in the fall of 2001.
With 11 mobile units on their campus, students at Erwin take health class in the locker rooms, among football uniforms, washing machines and the odor only a locker room can offer.
The hallway outside the cafeteria is lined with huge boxes that hold wrestling mats. The old wrestling room is now the chorus room.
In the main office, a former conference room provides two offices for seven Exceptional Children's teachers and the SIMS student information administrator.
At some point, the system must build a middle school east of Rockwell, according to Rowan-Salisbury Transportation Director Jim Christy.
But in the meantime, school officials are trying to alleviate overcrowding next year by sending some students at Erwin to Southeast Middle School. The Board of Education will discuss this issue at their meeting Monday.
This cluster is bounded roughly by Shuping Mill Road on the west, N.C. 152 on the north, Lower Stone Church Road on the east and the Cabarrus County line on the south.
If the school board agrees, rising seventh- and eighth-graders would have the option of attending either school, but rising sixth-graders would report to Southeast. Transportation will be provided to Southeast Middle School only.
In this plan, if all the rising sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in this area were to move, Erwin would lose 71 students to Southeast.
Also this fall, the choice plan would continue allowing Southeast Middle School students to choose between their district's high school or Salisbury High School. But the system will no longer provide transportation service to Salisbury in the choice zone, according to a proposal submitted by Superintendent Dr. Wiley Doby.
The cost of transporting choice-zone students to Salisbury High this year was about $1,100 per student, $750 more per pupil than regular school transportation service, officials said.
Christy, the transportation director, said the movement of middle school districts aims to better utilize existing facilities and reduce the number of high schools the middle schools feed into.
Under the new plan:
* All Corriher-Lipe students would go to South Rowan High.
* All Erwin students would go to East Rowan High.
* All Knox students would go to Salisbury High.
* All North Middle students would go to North High.
* All West Middle students would go to West High.
* China Grove students would either go to South High or the new southeast area high school.
* Southeast Middle students would go to either West or the new southeast-area high school.
The Board of Education meets Monday at 6:30 p.m. at 110 S. Long St., East Spencer.
Contact Jillian McCartney at 704-797-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If plan passes, 9th-graders at Southeast would go to West or new high school