Beverly Hills will remain open.
After about two years of fighting to save their school, Beverly Hills Elementary supporters and community members let out sighs of relief and cheers during the school board meeting on Monday when the board finally made a decision.
The Cabarrus County Board of Education voted 7-0 to add Beverly Hills back to the capital plan, for possible renovation or replacement in 2026, and to keep it open during its regular business meeting.
The vote to keep the school open was closer. It only passed 4-3 with board members Carolyn Carpenter, Holly Grimsley, Laura Blackwell and Vice Chair Rob Walter voting for it and Chair Cindy Fertenbaugh, Barry Shoemaker and David Harrison dissenting.
The board decided to attempt to address Beverly Hills in 2026, depending on funding from county commissioners, so that a new Coltrane-Webb could be completed first. Coltrane-Webb is one of the district’s oldest schools and has more capital improvement needs.
A new Coltrane-Webb will also allow the district to address overcrowding issues at Weddington Hills and Wolf Meadow Elementary Schools.
With the 4-3 vote to keep Beverly Hills open, students will be able to stay at their home school in Concord while waiting for the replacement/renovation instead of being moved to Royal Oaks Elementary School.
The only question the board still has to answer is where the money for teacher supplement increase will come from.
The board recently voted to spend $686,000 of its fund balance to help the supplement move from 8 percent to 9 percent. The county commissioners agreed to put up the other $686,000 to make this happen.
However, this is only for the 2019-2020 school year which means the school board has to find extra money in its operational savings to keep the supplement at 9 percent after next school year. The proposal on the table was that the supplement increase would come from operational savings once Beverly Hills was vacated; an idea that was met with shock and disapproval from school supporters.
Now that the Beverly Hills option is off the table, the board is tasked with finding the money to continue the supplement increase elsewhere.