At Monday’s Moore County Board of Education meeting, the board voted to place artificial turf at Pinecrest High School’s athletic field.

On Feb. 7, the Pinecrest Athletic Club came to an agreement to donate the $850,000 necessary for the installation of artificial turf at the John W. Williams Sports Complex. 

The artificial turf will give the students a consistent field to play on year-round. An average of 90 games per year are played at the complex, which takes a toll on the natural grass. The natural grass goes dormant in November and does not start growing again until April. The only recovery time for the natural grass is over the summer.

The motion carried 5-0 with one abstention.

In other matters, Jim O’Rourke, with the North Carolina School Board Association, presented an update on the search for a new superintendent to replace retired Dr. Bob Grimesey. They currently hope to look over resumes to decide who to have in for the first round of interviews, which should start in April.

Six-hundred forty-four community members and 478 staff completed a survey relating to the superintendent search, providing 518 comments.

According to the survey, the top five most essential characteristics for the new superintendent according to the community are:

  1. Understands how to provide a safe environment for students and staff.
  2. Knows how to get staff, students, parents, and community to work together to help children learn.
  3. Understands how to effectively advocate for resources needed to operate the schools.
  4. Has strong human relations or “people skills.”
  5. Communicates well with people of all races and socioeconomic statuses.

The staff had the same priorities in a slightly different order.

Board member Robert Levy stated that the most interesting aspect of the survey was not so much in helping to select the next superintendent, but it does show what is important to the community.

The deadline for applications was March 7. According to O’Rourke, they have received 20 applications, and he expected several more to come in before the deadline. 

The board members should be able to start reviewing resumes in the next few days.

Also during the meeting, the school board “approved MCS staff recommendation to maintain optional masks, move to optional masks on bus transportation and follow NCDHHS StrongSchools NC Toolkit guidance for return to school and/or work after isolation.”

This was part of the county’s review of COVID-19 management guidelines. This will run through April 4, which is the school board’s next scheduled special called meeting.

Currently, quarantine is not required if the exposed person is asymptomatic. Also, contact tracing is no longer necessary. On Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised their masking guideline to no longer require masks on buses, but they are optional.

MCS began offering free testing on Nov. 15 for students and staff. From Feb. 4-28, 1,192 staff and students were tested with 334 positive results. Districtwide student absences from COVID-19 dropped from 1,499 the week of Jan. 31 to 148 on Feb. 21 (the most recent data available).

The motion was accepted 6-0.

Board Chair Pamela Thompson expressed her appreciation for the staff being proactive “in letting parents (and students) know that prom is on and in rare form.”

The board also received an update on the old Aberdeen Primary School property. In January, the school board voted to accept a $200,000 bid. During the 10-day upset bid period, a higher offer for $350,000 was received. That started a new upset bid process during which a bid for $367,000 was received. That triggered yet another upset bid period, which ends March 8.

It is important to note that the sale is not final until the school board can review the bids. The school board can reject all offers.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is March 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Feature photo: Pinecrest High School stadium. Photo by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Melisssa Schaub.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice. Contact him at [email protected].

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