In one of several sessions scheduled by Moore County Schools to receive public input on the new redistricting plan, an open forum was held Tuesday at Southern Middle School.
A group of parents, school board members, and school administration listened to a presentation of the latest revision to the redistricting plan, a question and answer period and a chance to review the maps.
The school district provided information on several issues that have been matters of controversy including what constitutes an allowable transfer.
Some of the conditions included allowing students to remain in their current school if they were close to graduating and allowing rising students to transfer early.
Board chairman Helena Wallin-Miller encouraged parents to remember this is a marathon and not a race and pointed out that the process is only about 50 percent completed.
Some of the areas of concern raised by parents included:
Concerns about an adequate number of buses and drivers, alluding to situations that currently arise when buses and/or drivers are unavailable for scheduled routes;
concerns about changing the racial and demographic makeup of the schools;
Traffic congestion, mainly north of the traffic circle;
making sure that advance notice of transfers was provided;
and the effects of the redistricting on property values.
The general consensus seemed to be that the school board was attempting to make the best of a difficult situation with one parent calling it a lose/lose situation.
However, a vocal portion of those gathered had concerns about the transparency of the process, the format for the meeting, and question and answer session that followed.
When asked about the busing situation John Birath, Executive Officer for Operations for Moore County Schools, stated that the district is continually recruiting new drivers. He went on to state, “The redistricting should consolidate some routes, and help alleviate some of the issues caused by not having an adequate number of drivers.
Additionally, the district will be conducting a traffic study before the release of the third revision of the redistricting, and those findings will be taken into consideration.
Laura Evans and Michael Miller of Numerix, LLC, which is the consulting company assisting the district presented the four guiding principles the district is attempting to follow: BALANCE, PLANNING, EFFICIENCY, and COMMUNITY.
They also pointed out that these principles do not exist in a vacuum. Changing one area can cause a ripple effect that affects the entire plan.
Addressing an area of concern about the placement of the new schools and an allowance made for projected growth, Miller assured the attendees that future growth was considered in the placing of the new schools.
Moore County Superintendent Dr. Bob Grimesey stated: “Change can be difficult, but that does not mean it is unhealthy.” He continued that he was very proud of the participation of parents in the process.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 639-9303.