School board declines Montessori's request

The Moore County School Board won’t be talking with Moore Montessori Community School regarding Southern Pines Elementary. Moore Montessori wanted to enter negotiations with the board relative to buying or renting the campus.

The school board, at its April 16 remote session, by a vote of 7-0, rejected Moore Montessori’s request for discussions.

Moore County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Robert Grimesey, provided input on the offer during the meeting.

“My recommendation is that the board decline Montessori’s request,” Grimesey, who made it clear the school could still bid, via upset bid, said.

With an upset bid, no one is restricted as long as their bid is higher than the previous offer. 

During the portion of the meeting devoted to public comments, prior to any voting, board members heard from Katherine Rucker, the head of school at Moore Montessori. A native of Southern Pines, Rucker is a graduate of Wake Forest University, where she majored in political science. She later earned master’s degrees from Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, located in Mexico City, and from Loyola University Maryland.

Rucker stated that 70 percent of students at Moore Montessori are reading at grade level and 97 percent of parents said they’d recommend the school to friends. She said the offer to enter negotiations was based on the need for Moore Montessori to find a permanent home, which would, according to Rucker, enable students to reach full potential.

“We are prepared to offer the school board a fair price,” Rucker said.

She went on to thank the board for considering the request.

Libby Carter, the board’s chair, made it clear the denial had nothing to do with any reservations about Moore Montessori.

“It brings a previously absent offering to our small community,” Carter said.

Moore Montessori Community School, a public charter school, is currently located on W. Pennsylvania Avenue in Southern Pines.

Prior to the meeting, there was a moment of silence dedicated to those in Moore County victimized by COVID-19.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.

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