The candidates for the Alamance-Burlington County Board of Education addressed the Elon University acquisition of Elon Elementary school tonight. This came after the audience asked the candidates about allegations of the University getting the land of Elon Elementary between Elon University and Alamance-Burlington School System (ABSS).
Elon Elementary School, located on Haggard Avenue, has 647 students. There have been allegations that the University is interested in expanding the University using Elon Elementary land. Already, the Elon Strategic Plan has in mind a larger campus for the future.
Brian Freely is the only non-incumbent running. He is an Elon alumnus and works as Elon University's Director of Alumni Engagement. “Knowing the spirit, the mission and the strategic plans of Elon University, I think that the community, if they look closer, not just at headlines, would find an incredible public-private partnership that they can be proud of to move our community forward,” Freely said.
Patsy Simpson is hoping for another re-election this year. This would be her 13th year serving on the board.
“Since I’ve been on the board, Elon has really assisted the Alamance-Burlington Schools system in many endeavors,” Simpson said. “We have to have the buy-in with the public to carry out that vision and the strategic plan. We have to be honest and upfront with everything we do."
Pamela Tyler Thompson, agreed with Simpson’s ideas of transparency. “The way I always want to do things is, I want to bring you [the taxpayer] in from the very beginning, because you own the schools,” Tyler Thompson said. “This cannot cost the taxpayers anything."
So far, these discussions are preliminary, but the decision would have very real effects on the Elon community. “I like what I’ve heard so far,” said current board chair Steve Van Pelt. “Their campus is extended back, behind Elon Elementary, and even further to the east. So because of that, the property becomes very important to the plans of [Elon's] campus."