School for students with special needs may get $1 million in renovations

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Stoner-Thomas School in Lexington may get $1 million in renovations and improvements if the Davidson County Board of Education budget is approved.

The school system's Superintendent Dr. Lory Morrow told FOX8 the Board of Education made the additional request in its budget based on concerns parents brought to their attention in recent months.

"At Stoner-Thomas we want to look at the opportunity for possibility of a lunchroom, cafeteria, additional classrooms, the playground space [and] additional learning spaces," explained Dr. Morrow.

She said staff was already working on evaluating the cost of renovations, additions and a potential increase in staffing.

Parents first spoke with FOX8 two weeks ago and started an online group called "Reviving Stoner-Thomas."

The school's playground and at least two bathrooms need to be adapted for students in wheelchairs. Parents would also like covered walkways for students walking to mobile classrooms.

One of their main concerns is the lack of a cafeteria. Currently, students are transported by bus to Davis-Townsend School for lunch at least four days a week.

Loading and unloading students with disabilities takes a lot of time, says parent Jamie Hallman. She wishes that time was being spent in the classroom and is concerned students are not getting required educational hours.

Hallman has two daughters with autism who attend the school. She and other parents applauded Monday when the School Board announced the addition of the one million dollars into the budget for Stoner-Thomas improvements.

"I know what other schools are getting, and I know what our school deserves. So hopefully this time next year, we'll see some activity going on in the back of the school," Hallman said, smiling.

Parent Ira Matney told FOX8 previously he is fighting for students who can't speak up for themselves.

Other parents pointed out the legal issues with adapting a school for students with disabilities.

"We don't have any current legal concerns right now," Dr. Morrow said Tuesday. "We work closely with our school board attorney, but we are also always concerned about are there things we can do differently, and are there ways we can better educate our students? And that's certainly our focus as we go into looking at Stoner-Thomas and any improvements the Board of Education might make."

She said funding requests from the BOE must be approved by the County Board of Commissioners.

The BOE is asking for public input about its budget on May 12 at 4 p.m. in the Evans Boardroom. That session follows the Board's retreat that day.

Dr. Morrow says the final budget request will be presented to Commissioners on May 13.

Hallman pointed out, "So far we have verbal commitments from all seven commissioners in Davidson County, and we're hoping they'll follow through on their statements by voting 'yes' for improvements at Stoner-Thomas."

Dr. Morrow said she is proud of the principal and staff at the school. "What's happening inside the four walls of Stoner-Thomas are some pretty great things for kids throughout the day."


  • Reviving Stoner Thomas Parent

    I”m a parent of Stoner Thomas child it is a every day struggle for these child why make there lives more difficult than it has to be they need all the help they can get. I commend the teachers for their work and I”m sure they don’t busing them to Davis Townsend no more than we do.


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  • Robin Hermida

    My son goes to a special needs school and I really feel for the children, family and staff of Stoner-Thomas. Special needs schools NEED special attention, I sure hope this budget gets approved. Why disable the already disabled?

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