Amazon, Apple hub would impact schools

Superintendent of Johnston County Schools Dr. Ross Renfrow, said he hopes the schools are ready if Amazon or Apple come to NC with immediate, medium range and long range plans.

By Steve Reed

Johnston County School Superintendent Ross Renfrow recalled a comment from a 7-year-old girl that reminded him of his purpose.

“At Benson Elementary School, the principal took me on a tour,” said Renfrow. “The principal asked the students what I did. One second grade girl said, ‘your job is to make sure our dreams come true.’”

Renfrow said Johnston County Public Schools has added between 4,000 to 5,000 students in the past 10 years and that total enrollment today has topped 36,000 students.

This past year alone, Johnston County enrolled 1,200 new students.

When he considers whether Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, or Apple, the computer giant both of which have the Triangle on its new location consideration list, move here, Renfrow said he hopes the school district is ready.

“Whatever happens with Amazon and Apple, I think it will affect Johnston County more than any other area,” said Renfrow. “When it comes to managing growth, we must have immediate, medium-range and long-range plans.”

Renfrow said Johnston schools are close to capacity now.

“It’s good to be experiencing growth; it’s a great opportunity,” said Renfrow. “I’d rather be facing growth problems than other school districts that are considering closing schools.”

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