In the first step in a long and possibly controversial process, the Moore County Board of Education unveiled Monday the first draft for the schools’ redistricting process.

Consultant Laura Evans, who was hired by the district as an adviser to the redistricting process, explained that the process is guided by four principles.

BALANCE: To provide balance in building utilization, program opportunities, and student demographics

EFFICIENCY: To seek to optimize operational efficiency

PLANNING: To utilize up to date school and planning data to provide a forward-looking, stable assignment plan

COMMUNITY: To be sensitive to the needs of our families, communities and the district

The initial draft is based primarily on computer modeling. Each Moore County student was geocoded between 2015 and 2019. This data included geographic, school performance, family, economic and racial profiles to optimize building utilization relative to capacity.

There will be at least two more drafts before a final plan is adopted later this year with the changes phasing in over multiple years, likely starting for the 2020-2021 school year.

The school board has also established an advisory committee of local stakeholders including teachers, parents, and principles representing the affected schools.

Detailed maps, timelines and a portal to provide feedback can be found on the Moore County Schools website. 

Also discussed at the school board meeting, Moore County Director of Communication Catherine Murphy reported on the feedback from the online portal for naming the new Aberdeen and Pinehurst Elementary Schools.

The majority of online comments were provided on the Aberdeen School. The name Aberdeen Elementary received a lot of positive comments. Blue’s Crossing Elementary also received some positive feedback. A total of 277 comments were collected concerning Aberdeen.

The new Pinehurst School received 188 comments. The town leaders wanted the school named Pinehurst Elementary and the board added Old Town Elementary and Village Elementary as options. The majority of respondents liked Pinehurst Elementary.

In other matters, the board heard a report on the K-3 class size verification report. Currently, the law requires an average district class size of 20 students and a maximum classroom size of 23 students. Currently, the school district has an average class size of 18 students.

An overview of the 2019-2020 school budget was also presented. The total budget of $125,288,100 with $75,500,000 coming from the state, federal funding accounts for another $7.4 million with local funding covering the remaining $34 million.

This request represents a 14 percent increase in local funding and is more than the county’s principle of limiting school expenses to 40 percent of the budget.

The school board will take action at the April 8 meeting. A presentation to the Moore County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for May 7.

In June, the County Manager will present his recommended budget to the commissioners with a public hearing and board of commissioners action meeting planned for June 18.

The next scheduled school board meeting is April 8.

Courtesy feature photo from MCS of proposed redistricting map showing entire county. 

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice. 

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