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The Moore County Board of Education learned details on the Original Budget for 2020-21 on Monday. According to numbers provided by district officials, there will be an increase of $6,803,789 over the Original Budget for the 2019-20 school year.

This year’s budget totals $131,550,759.

The school district will recommend approval of the Original Budget at the Monday, October 12 Regular Business Meeting of the school board. The October 5 session was held remotely.

While the budget has gone up, less money will come from local sources. The Moore County Board of Commissioners has approved total funding of $31,850,000. In terms of local contribution, there’s a decrease of $739,133 when compared to last year.

The Original Budget for 2020-21 includes almost $4 million in one-time COVID response money.  There will also be step increases for teachers, assistant principals and instructional support staff. Central office or classified staff will not get an increase in salary.

The school board was, later in the virtual meeting, given updates on construction projects at the new Southern Pines Elementary, North Moore High and the new Pinehurst Elementary. Included in the updates were percentages on the amount of work completed, progress photos, project schedules, and budget statuses for the projects.

The completion date for Southern Pines Elementary, which was originally September 21, has been extended, because of COVID delays, to October 26. Furniture will be delivered to the facility October 19. The school is set to open January 1, 2021.

The revised completion date for additions and renovations at North Moore High is October 22. Delays caused by COVID caused the change in schedule.

Work at Pinehurst Elementary is scheduled to be completed in early March of 2021. To date, 65 percent of the construction timeline has passed.

Additionally, the district updated the board on maintenance and capital improvements at existing schools.

In other business, school officials are expected to give a green light regarding the Plan A re-entry plan.

Plan A, revealed by Governor Roy Cooper September 17, allows students in grades K-5 to receive in-person instruction five days per week. The expansion in the number of students attending daily will be in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the Moore County Department of Health.

Since school opened August 17, the district’s rate of infection, from COVID-19, has remained very low.

The district will recommend Plan A at the school board’s Monday, October 12 Regular Meeting. Plan A is expected to begin Jan. 5.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.

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