On a five to two vote the Cabarrus Board of Education ruled late last month to keep the doors of Beverly Hills Elementary open through June, 2020. The compromise provision submitted by Board member Barry Shoemaker calls for temporarily vacating the site as opposed to an earlier draft proposal explicitly calling for the neighborhood school’s closure.
The amended proposal attempted to ease concerns of those on the board opposing the school’s closing. Board Vice Chair Carolyn Carpenter and board member Vince Powell disagreed with the need for closing smaller, older schools. The argument came down to economics and the fact that the school board is answerable to the Cabarrus County Commissioners, a major source of the county school’s funding.
Board Chair Cindy Fertenbaugh pointed out that saving Beverly Hills Elementary requires voter approval of two measures on the state’s November ballot – one to raise education funding through the sale of bonds and the other revenue source would be raising the sales tax one quarter of one percent. This alone could provide county schools eight million dollars annually.
Referring to the Board’s decision to push back decision day one year , member David Harrison reminded everyone it wasn’t the duty of politicians to kick problems down the road although it remains arguable whether putting off problems isn’t a time-honored political tactic to avoid ‘no-win’ decisions.