After a long, arduous process, the Moore County School Board reviewed the final version of the Multi-Year Student Assignment Plan at an afternoon work session Monday. After reviewing the plan, the meeting moved to Carthage Elementary School to have room for the public to comment.  The board voted to accept the proposal 5-2.

The plan’s primary stated purpose is to shift students from crowded schools into schools where space is available. The plan’s goals also include:

Develop assignment plans for three elementary schools opening between 2020-2022;

Resolved unfinished business from the 2019-2020 Area 1 assignment plan;

Address to the extent possible, utilization issues among elementary and middle schools;

Balance, to the extent possible, demographics among elementary and middle schools.

The plan attempts to balance utilization between schools in the northern part of the district who are underutilized, and schools in the southern part of the district who are severely overcrowded. You can see and download the plan here.

A couple of speakers addressed the board, expressing concern about how Eagle Springs would be affected by the plan, including how some students would move multiple times over the course of just a couple of years. Several board members expressed concern about the Eagle Springs area as well.

“I am concerned about the Eagle Springs area,” said board member Stacey Caldwell. “I accept the plan, but I do not agree with all of it.”

Board member Neil Weaver echoed those sentiments. “I regret that the final plan will not accommodate all the issues parents raised, but at the end of the day, we have to address overcrowding,” said Weaver.

“We know that we are not presenting a perfect plan tonight,” said board member Dr. Betty Brown. “I am not sure that a perfect plan could ever exist; however, we ask that you accept it as the one we feel will most benefit our children throughout the entire district.”

When Board Vice-Chair Libby Carter mentioned the Eagle Springs area, she was asked if there was concern over a relatively small part of the overall plan, why not change it?

“We have to think about the district as a whole and what is best for all the students,” said Carter.

Moore County Schools currently have 12,764 students, and that number is expected to grow over the next few years. This is the first redistricting in Moore County in 10 years. Several board members addressed the need to revisit every five years.

“We have to revisit the plan every five years or so,” said Caldwell. “By not having done this earlier (previous school boards) is why we are where we are today.”

Board member Ed Dennison commented during the board member comment period.

“I thank all our parents and the community for supporting the building of our new schools. I am excited for our students attending the new schools. I’m excited students will no longer have classes in modular units that are losing 40 hours of instruction a years as a result of having to go to the main school building for breakfast, lunch, and the bathroom and be able to have lunch at a reasonable time instead of 10:30 in the morning and 1:30 in the afternoon. I am also excited for our entire school staff for being in buildings that are not 70 plus years old. Just imagine what this will do for student achievement.”

Carter added a call for unity saying, “It’s time to embrace this for our children.”

The next school board work session is November 4, with a regular business meeting scheduled for November 12.

Sandhills_Sentinel~ Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at chris@sandhillssentinel.com or (910) 639-9303

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