The Moore County School Board Thursday held the last of a series of public hearings on the countywide redistricting plan set to take effect in 2020 school year.
Moore County School Superintendent Dr. Bob Grimesey proposed a final redistricting this month. The proposal was the result of a year-long process that included an advisory committee made up of parents, teachers, several public hearing, traffic studies, and data analysis by outside consultants.
Twenty-five speakers spoke before a crowd of approximately 100 people at Union Pines High School delivering several different messages.
Some spoke of calls for unity, acceptance and the importance of being role models to children facing change. Others spoke of the need to realign school utilization with changing population patterns.
Those who spoke against the redistricting were concerned about the effects on students having to make a multitude of school moves over a period of a few years. Others were concerned about the division of neighborhoods and forcing some children to attend schools many miles from their homes as opposed to neighborhood schools that were much closer. Many were concerned that the district was taking away the choices they had made when purchasing their homes, citing a desire for their children to attend specific schools.
Some parents had harsh criticism for the board and Grimesey calling the plan an attempt at social engineering, cronyism and an effort to mask failing schools. Concerns were also expressed about the environmental impact on students of the new Aberdeen Elementary School that is adjacent to two sites that were subject to an extensive EPA cleanup. Several parents in the Lake Pinehurst area were upset that some of their children would have to change schools three times in three years under the proposed plan.
Sandhills Sentinel asked Moore County Director of Communications Catherine Murphy how many students under the proposed plan would face having to change schools from year to year.
“This could indeed occur as students who are redistricted matriculate from elementary to middle or middle to high. Under the current redistricting plan, students change schools only once unless of course, they matriculate to middle or high in subsequent years.
“See examples below of the allowable transfers guideline being proposed in the Superintendent’s recommended plan, as proactive and rising transfers will alleviate most of these concerns. For example, you may have a current 4th grader who would change elementary schools for 5th grade and then matriculate to middle school for 6th grade. Under the allowable transfer proposal, as a rising 5th grader, that student can elect to stay at his or her current school for the 5th grade.
“Another scenario would be a current 5th grader who matriculates to middle school for 6th grade then changes middle school for 7th grade. In this case, under the allowable transfer guideline proposed in the Superintendent’s recommendation, that student would be permitted a proactive transfer to move directly to their reassigned middle school in 6th grade so he or she may stay at that school all three years.”
Speaking before the meeting started, Board Vice Chairman Libby Carter explained it is the school board policy not to respond to speakers during a public hearing.
At the end of the meeting, she pointed out that the last redistricting was in 2011, and that was only to accommodate Crains Creek Elementary and West Pine Elementary which opened that year.
“I urge future school boards not to kick it down the road and set a goal of looking at districts, realizing that school populations and the places people live change very quickly,” said Carter.
The district has established an interactive map which allows you to enter your address and see which school your child will be assigned to. You can access that here.
The School Board is going to consider final action on the redistricting at its Oct 14 regular meeting.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at email@example.com or (910) 639-9303.