State Bond Issue Eyed For Schools
Public school leaders from across North Carolina may ask for a statewide bond issue to pay for building new schools, Superinten-dent Susan Purser told the Board of Education Monday night.
The North Carolina School Boards Association and the North Carolina Association of School Administrators said in a memo to school systems that the need for new facilities across the state has "reached a crisis point." Those groups could lobby the state legislature to call for a bond referendum.
The Moore County school board adopted a $144 million construction plan last year. It calls for building six new schools, as well as renovations and expansions at existing campuses, to accommodate rising enrollment and ease crowding.
Last month, the school board asked the county commissioners to come up with $39 million to fund the first phase of the plan. County leaders have said that will likely require a bond referendum.
Statewide, some 266 new schools are needed.
"Not only are we struggling with issues involving facilities," Purser said, "but it is statewide."
School administrators have been invited to a meeting later this month in Cumberland County to discuss the possibility of asking the state legislature for a bond issue.
"We will be bringing that into our discussion of local needs and see how those factors work hand in hand," she said. "It is not a question of one or the other."
On another matter, Purser said that while she had not received official notification from the state on a calendar waiver request, the state board has posted an item on its Web site saying it would grant waivers for high school students who attended college classes.
Waiver Asked in Fall
In October, all four high school principals asked the Moore County Board of Education to request a calendar waiver from the state board, to align the calendar with Sandhills Community College's schedule.
This would mean starting the school year Aug. 8 and ending May 21, instead of the current schedule, which starts Aug. 25 and ends June 8.
Even if the state grants the calendar waiver, Purser said, the local school board would still have to vote to approve the change.
In other business:
-- The board recognized the 22 teachers who were recently certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. The distinction, which is the highest credential in the teaching profession, carries a 12 percent salary increase and a one-time bonus from the school system.
There are now 95 board-certified teachers working in the Moore County public schools.
"I doubt that another system our size has anywhere near that number," said board member Lorna Clack.
-- The board heard a presentation on a recent partnership between Union Pines High School and the Xingtai San Zhong school in the Hebei province in China.
Technology instructor Robin Calcutt has helped organize the effort.
Students from the Chinese school sent more than 700 letters before Christmas, and Union Pines students recently have written nearly 900 letters in response. Teachers plan to apply the lessons learned from the cultural exchange in various interdisciplinary studies.
"This is a project," Calcutt said, "that is one of the most relevant and authentic projects we've been able to offer our students at Union Pines."
-- Assistant Superintendent Dr. Larry Upchurch told the board that construction of the modular buildings at Pinecrest High should be completed today.
Construction on the 13 units, which will house more than 300 students, began in September.
"It's interesting to see how quickly we can make usable space become a reality," Up-church said. "Many school districts will be using this kind of construction to meet needs. It's cost-effective, and it can be done in a rather short time frame."
Upchurch said the buildings cost about $50 per square foot, compared to $165 a square foot for traditional buildings.
Katherine Evans can be reached at 693-2480 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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