A Difficult But Critical Decision
I would like to commend Dr. Purser’s willingness to make difficult budget decisions. This is both the responsibility and obligation of any good leader, especially in these difficult economic times. She and her staff certainly are in the best position to weigh all options and make the important decisions that are in the best interests of the entire school system.
While I am certainly sympathetic to the inconvenience that closing Academy Heights will cause some parents and teachers, I respectfully disagree with those who feel the academic success will be lost with its closure. The success of any school is not based on its physical structure but the culture derived from active participation of its students, parents, teachers and staff. There is no reason that Academy Heights’ best-in-class attributes cannot be translated to Southern Pines Elementary and Primary schools to make those schools even better.
The Moore County school system long-range building plan has included the recent additions of West Pine Elementary and Cranes Creek Middle schools. As with any well-thought-out capital investment program, new assets are brought online to meet increasing demand, while older facilities with higher operating costs are retired. It would make no financial sense to close newer facilities.
We are well beyond the point of getting by with small, incremental cost cutting. Federal stimulus money was a one-time event. State funding has been drastically reduced. Major cost reduction options such as school closings are now required. Otherwise, even more teaching positions would need to be eliminated, leading to even larger average classroom sizes.
We could only be so fortunate that our local and federal government leaders had the same courage to make the same difficult, but necessary, decisions, instead of continuing to kick the proverbial can down the road.
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