Meeting the Needs of All Students
Alexander County Schools (ACS) is committed to serving all of the students in the Alexander County School System. We believe all of our schools are great schools, and our employees are committed to student achievement. We also know that not all schools are equal based on the age of the building, size of the school, location, and even educational initiatives. We believe in looking at issues and options through a lens of what is best for the educational, physical, emotional and social benefit of all students.
Since the 2011-2012 school year, the total school system enrollment has declined steadily from 5,454 to 5,009 at the beginning of this school year. Based on the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) projections the total enrollment is projected to decrease to 4,529 students by the 2020-2021 school year. Also based on the 2016 DPI Facilities Need Survey, our schools’ current capacity is for an additional 1,977 students leaving no school in our district operating at full capacity.
State and federal cuts in education have taken their toll on small school systems across the state and nation. Alexander County is no different when it comes to shouldering the financial burden of providing a quality education with reduced funding. Our struggle is compounded by our declining student enrollment.
For the past five years, the school system budget committees and administrative teams have relied on the use of the system’s fund balance to balance the annual budget. When the state and federal government began cutting funds for schools, our goal was to use fund balance to preserve the teacher assistant positions that we feel are important to classroom instruction. Our hopes were that the funding would be restored one day at a priority level. Since then there have been many more programs and positions vital to education that have been, and continue to be, jeopardized by the cuts in funding. In turn, we have continued to maintain these programs and some positions through the use of fund balance each year. We are facing a projected use of fund balance this year of $692,151 which will total close to two million dollars out of fund balance in the past four years. At the current rate, the fund balance will be depleted at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year.
Compounding the financial situation is the issue of facility needs at Taylorsville Elementary School. There are approximately three million dollars in construction and renovation needs at the school including, the renovation or replacement of the gymnasium and cafeteria, the roof, and HVAC system. There are needs at many of our schools that have to be considered each year. At Taylorsville Elementary, the return on investment in repairs and renovations is far less than the expected return on investment in the repairs and maintenance on newer schools. Taylorsville School was built in 1955, and the current gym was constructed in 1950. Although additions were made to the school in 1984 and 1995, Taylorsville Elementary is the oldest facility with the greatest needs.
Repairs, renovations, and maintenance cannot restore the school to its former glory. While we are very proud of Taylorsville School and its rich history, time has certainly taken its toll on the facility. The history of the school will remain; the potential to provide the current students with opportunities to learn and grow in new environments cannot be overshadowed by emotional ties to the aging facility.
The Alexander County Board of Education and district administration are open to considering the consolidation of Taylorsville Elementary to four neighboring elementary schools.
The discussion of consolidation can evoke strong reactions that can be disruptive and unsettling to students, parents, community members, and school staff. As members of the community and the ACS system, we must come together because our students at Taylorville Elementary deserve the opportunities that consolidation can provide. We are willing to listen, learn, and make the best decision possible.
We have a series of meetings planned to provide information and collect feedback from the public, parents, and community. The meeting dates, as well as other resources, are posted on the left side of this page.
We are proud that so many people have strong ties to and memories of Taylorsville School. Our hope is that we can come together for the future of our students.