Moore County Board of Commissioners met and discussed the school district applying for a needs-based school funding grant on Nov. 21. A needs-based public school mutual fund is a grant program funded for several years by the General Assembly. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction administers it.
Moore County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Locklear and Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Purvis attended the meeting. Locklear explained the grant request, and Purvis explained current needs.
Locklear says the needs-based funding is for a “project” school. The program requires a 15% match from the county, which equals $1.5 million, to receive the estimated $10 million in grant funding.
This grant has a “weighting” system, favoring tier I and tier II counties. As Moore County is a tier III county, it presents difficulties in getting the grant. But, as Dr. Locklear pointed out, “ … If you don’t ask, you can’t receive.”
Last year, the schools applied for a grant through this same program for a project at Crain’s Creek Middle School. Moore County did not receive the grant.
Purvis said, “We would like to place on this application a recommendation for renovation and modernization of West End Elementary School.”
A comprehensive facility assessment was conducted on all county schools during the spring and summer. As a result of that assessment, West End was one of seven schools prioritized as a “high-need” area.
West End was built in 1952, with the gym added in 1975 and the cafeteria in 1989. The assessment determined that the original structure, including the original classroom building, is nearing the end of its life expectancy.
Purvis said some projects under consideration would include windows, doors, carpet replacement, lighting, plumbing and electrical upgrades, bathroom updating, ensuring they are ADA compliant, and several other projects and upgrades.
Purvis then asked the commissioners to endorse these projects by asking for the grant. The state will accept grant applications through Jan. 5, 2024.
The Board unanimously approved asking for the grant.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Steve Biddle.