Budget-busting at Moore County Schools?


The bureaucrats at the  Moore County Schools are making their yearly, hat-in-hand, tearful plea to the county commissioners for MO’ MONEY.

If you listen to one school board member, part of the conservative minority bloc elected last year, you might think the county school system does a horrible job of handling the money it already has:

Here is a copy of the letter I sent this morning to all of the members of the Moore County Commissioners, the Village of Pinehurst Council members and the MC School Board:


Good Morning Everyone,

I hope you all enjoyed your tour of the most expensive elementary school ever built in NC.  Unfortunately, because of the extraordinary amount of money spent on PH/SP/AB elementary schools, the people of Carthage, Robbins and West End/Seven Lakes don’t have new schools for their local officials to tour or for their children to attend.

At $47,500 per student seat, Pinehurst Elementary is, by far, the most expensive Elementary School ever built in the state of North Carolina.  Had the previous Board of Education spent the state average of $26,278.43 per student seat for new public school elementary school construction, Moore County could have FIVE new 800 seat elementary schools, not three. 

Here are the numbers:

  • Per the NC Department of Public Instruction, the statewide average cost in the past two years to build a new Public Elementary School is $26,278.43 per student seat
  • Here is what the previous Moore County School Board spent for PH/SP/AB elementary:

    – Pinehurst Elementary:  $47,500 per student seat (84.4% above the average cost)

         —  This makes PHE the most expensive elementary school ever build in NC.  It exceeds the cost of the second most expensive elementary school by 20%

     – Southern Pines Elementary:  $37,310 per student seat (47.2% above the average cost)

         — This makes SPE the third most expensive elementary school ever built in NC

    –  Aberdeen Elementary:  $33,902 per student seat (33.8% above the average cost)

         — This makes ABE the sixth most expensive elementary school every built in NC

If the previous School Board spent the state average of $26,278.43 per student seat, they could have built FIVE new schools, not three.  That would have meant a new 800 seat elementary school for Carthage and one for Robbins or any other two locations in Moore County.

In response to Ed Dennison’s point of “The voters of Moore County voted to give us the money to build new schools”.   Of course they did Ed.  Moore County needed new schools.  No one disputes that. 

However, the citizen voters of Moore County expected the money to be spent wisely and to get value for their money.  They did not expect the previous School Board to build (literally) the most expensive elementary schools in NC.   Even if the Moore County voters did not expressly state that the money be spent wisely, like every other elected body (to include almost everyone on this e-mail), it was the fiduciary duty of the BoE to get value for the taxpayer’s dollars and to take care of all students in Moore County, not just those in Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen. 

I am hopeful that other elected bodies in Moore County are more frugal and more fair with taxpayer dollars.  I know that the future Moore County School Board will.  Please note that I say “future” because the three reformer progressives on the board are outnumbered by four incumbents.  I see little change in the incumbents proclivities toward outlandish/reckless spending or their inability to ask even basic relevant questions of what is presented to them by the Central Office staff.

David Hensley