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August 5, 2021

Letter: Offer something superior if Overton must close

When I moved to the Salisbury community to work in the faculty at Catawba College, my wife and I nervously investigated schools for our young family.

My wife and I purchased a home within walking distance of Catawba in the Overton Elementary-Knox Middle School area in a large part because we heard so many great things about Overton. Many of my Catawba colleagues recommended that we ignore the rankings/grades and trust their experience that Overton was a great school with excellent and loving faculty.

All of that has been true. We have one student in kindergarten and one in fourth grade, and we have been nothing but impressed with Overton Elementary School.

Please, school board, have the courage to stop considering a renovation of Knox Middle School and seriously consider the route of a new K-8 facility. Spending $26 million on Knox Middle to give a 61-year-old facility 20-25 years of life is not fiscally responsible and cannot possibly create as safe and secure a campus as one built from the ground up with security and safety as priorities.

Moreover, a shining, new K-8 facility could attract many private school students already living in the district and, most importantly, provide long-term academic stability and opportunity for under-resourced families in Salisbury-Rowan.

Most Overton parents have been incredibly pragmatic. We can begrudgingly accept the closure of Overton Elementary, but offer us something superior in the form of a new K-8 facility, which will have the potential to change the academic landscape in town.

STEM, accelerated learning, literacy, robotics, coding, music and arts, community service and a new, diverse K-8 on the Overton/Knox site is what we hope to be celebrating together in just a few years.

— Jay Bolin

Salisbury

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