Our lesson for today, boys & girls ? MISMANAGEMENT.


Lt. Gov.  Dan Forest has tooted his own horn about getting a financial literacy requirement for high school graduation passed in the legislature.   It looks as though some in the Moore County Schools administration could use a refresher on the subject.


Mismanagement is becoming quite a popular term to use when  discussing Moore County’s public schools.   The bureaucrats who lost ALL of the ACT scores for Pinecrest High School?  THAT was mismanagement (according to the media AND the schools central office).



Redistricting and the resulting hubbub?  I think that can safely be labeled mismanagement.  Building a new school amidst an industrial site and an environmental superfund site?  Again, mismanagement.


Now, we’ve come to learn that THREE of the FOUR new schools under construction are over budget.  And who is getting the blame?  Not the rubber-stampers on the school board.  Not Cryin’ Bob nor his lieutenants.  Nope.  It’s being attributed to “budget woes.”  Which means the central office will once again approach the county commissioners and General Assembly with hat in hand, and palm extended (and mommies a-screamin’):


[…] Moore County Schools is working toward awarding a construction contract for the last school that will be built with general obligation bonds voters approved last year.


But the school board learned on Monday that all four of the bids that the schools received last week from contractors interested in building a new elementary school in Pinehurst are well over the district’s construction budget.


In May 2018, Moore County voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum on allowing the county to borrow $103 million to build three new 800-student elementary schools in Aberdeen, Southern Pines and Pinehurst. All three schools will replace old campuses dating from the 1940s and 1950s — and in Pinehurst’s case, the new school will be nearly twice as large as the current one.

Construction on the Aberdeen and Southern Pines schools is already underway. The Aberdeen school off of N.C. 5 is more than halfway finished. At $27.1 million to build — not including the costs to buy the land and outfit the school — it has been the only one of the three to come in within the district’s budget.


In March, the school board awarded a $30.3 million construction contract for the Southern Pines school off of Morganton Road. That contract was nearly $2.7 million more than was budgeted. The county commissioners approved the overrun, but within a week reiterated the $103 million total spending limit on the three-school package.


On Thursday, the lowest of the four bids to build the Pinehurst school was $31.7 million. The bid, from the Wilmington-based Thomas Construction Group, is nearly $2.9 million over the project budget.


Aside from the budget to build the new school, the Pinehurst project has the highest ancillary costs. Unlike the Southern Pines and Aberdeen schools, which are going up on vacant land, the Pinehurst school will be at the same Dundee Road location that has served students since 1940.


So Moore County Schools has spent $3 million to erect a temporary campus of modular buildings in Rassie Wicker Park, which will serve Pinehurst Elementary students beginning later this month and into 2021.


That campus is now almost fully installed, and the schools are outfitting it with furniture and classroom technology this week. The school’s office will reopen at the temporary school on Aug. 14.


The new school is expected to be in service for the 2021-2022 school year.


At this point, Moore County Schools Director for Operations John Birath estimates that the district has a $4.4 million deficit between the total costs of the three schools and the $103 million the county has authorized.[…]


That’s Birath and Grimesey’s problem.  They get paid the big bucks to wisely manage the big bucks sent their way.  (And it doesn’t look like they’ve done a very good job.)



Project costs are decided during the preliminary design phase.  What you draw on the plans is what it’s going to cost.  (Just because some architect who has no construction experience or knowledge SAYS the project will cost under $103 million doesn’t mean it will.)




[…] The schools are expected to consider a construction contract next month. With a contract approved, the county can sell the bonds for the project. In the meantime, Birath said, the schools are reexamining the budget for the Pinehurst school in an attempt to whittle down the overall cost.


“We went through this process on the previous projects. Everything that came out of the process on those projects for opportunities to save without sacrificing operation or sustainability of the school has been incorporated into this project,” he said.


“However, this is a different design team, this is a different contractor with different subs. So we’re hoping that with another whole set of eyes there might be some items that we can identify that would bring potential savings to the project.”

A $945,000 “contingency” line item has been worked into the budget to deal with unanticipated costs that arise during the construction process. Similar provision was made for the Southern Pines and Aberdeen schools, but in both cases the schools ended up slashing that fund considerably in their attempt to bring the overall budget down.


Birath said that more of that contingency is likely to be necessary in building the Pinehurst school though, thanks to the decades of use the site has already seen.


“This site had previous structures on it and we do not know what might be encountered as we begin putting in the utilities and foundations for the new building as well as the demolition of existing structures,” he said. “So the design team is going to evaluate the potential risk.”[…]


12 thoughts on “Our lesson for today, boys & girls ? MISMANAGEMENT.

  1. You always nail it. This is out of control and a forensic audit along with an investigation needs to be done. Unfortunately we have weak people in powerful positions who don’t have the ba**s to do anything.

  2. The median cost of 800-capacity elementary schools is 20 million. Ten years ago, 600-capacity West Pine elementary was built for 9 million. Moore County is spending 30 million on each school, 38 million on the new Pinehurst elementary and they still can’t come under budget! The taxpayers in this county are getting fleeced, big time! What’s especially disturbing is that we desperately need a new middle school and a new high school. If we had spent a reasonable amount of money on each of the new elementary schools, the $103 million would possibly have been enough to meet those needs as well. Now what are we going to do about our high schools and our middle schools that are severely overcrowded?? Redistricting definitely doesn’t solve those problems. We are spending over $103 million dollars and only slightly addressing the overcrowding issues in our schools??? I believe, at this point, the children would do a better job managing the money and the schools!! We should put them in charge!! Wake up Moore County!!!

  3. How do we make this stop? They have no answers for anything. They aren’t accountable for anything. Birath and Grimesey get a pass on EVERYTHING. The crying moms will come out swinging for that $4 mil and they’ll get it. Why??? I’m a mom too and quite frankly I’m tired of the lack of accountability and this environment we are in where everything is just a good ol’ pat on the back and move along. It was THEIR budget, the arguments on why they can’t meet THEIR budget are going to make zero sense and will be infuriating but the masses will gobble it up with a smile and give Bob another pat on the back. Makes me sick!

    1. The crying moms came out swinging tonight. Some really deserved an Academy award. Those same phonies will be at the next boc meeting begging for more money. The commissioners will give in otherwise the klan will harass them. We need people who aren’t scared to stand up to this group of whiny moms.

      1. Yes!!! I watched that and was stunned. I’m not kidding when I say that there was some serious mental illness in that room last night. It is as if they are all victims! I think they probably think they are. Victims of their own insanity maybe but they’ve created this mess. They are not victims.

  4. Last nights board of education meeting was a complete disgrace. In my 20 years here I’ve never seen such a display of stupidity. What in the world is happening to this county? How did we ever allow liars, crooks and criminals in charge of our children? It is a crying shame. One thing is clear, those board members do not like facts. I hope all of the cheerleaders there last night feel proud when we no longer have Quality schools. Shame on all of you.

    1. The majority of the people who spoke will not be impacted by the redistricting therefore they do not have a vested interest. Why do those people continue to show up? What do they have to gain? They do not deserve a say in any of this.

  5. I totally agree Henry! Without good public schools to attract young families to Moore County the county will go downhill. It’s so sad to me that a handful of people can mess things up this way! Socialism is alive and well in Moore County!

  6. It’s important for people to understand (And I think they do) – We Get it – Money needs to be spent. But – We are not fine with the waste and abuse.

    School Board – would you like to settle this once and for all? Let’s have a public debate. Answer the questions addressed in this article (And Many other issues of incompetence).

    And thank you to the daily Haymaker for helping to publicize Moore County concerns with our schools.

  7. You cannot ignore the fact that the socialist agenda was focused on education many years ago. They are now in complete control of education at all levels.

    So why are we surprised that our “local” school administrators are following a course of “bankrupt” the system and “dumb down” the kids, just like the national level Cloward and Piven budget people and the John Dewey education people.

    There are some fairly good public schools, but you must search them out and make sure it is an “A” rated school. Over 40 years ago, I sent my kids to private religious schools in their early years, but today I would leave them in private schools as long as I could scrape up the funds. And I would scrape very hard.

  8. I watched the meeting, many of the mothers speaking have children at a school that benefits by redistribution of school lines.

    And another point brought up by the men’s mentor program speaker-equal opportunity. To mean that means equal for all children in turn means equal opportunities at the schools. Your moving children from schools with offering to schools without. The schools SHOULD be equal in offering in extracurricular activity and the like before moving kids. Hurting more then some to benefit of others…. doesn’t seem fair.

    Plan better, get your ducks in a row. You knew not every school had the same offering. That’s where you should have started.

  9. Plenty of people are talking about the school board and the superintendents incompetence and writing about it but what is being done? These people are running amuck spending tax payers money, being dishonest, making back door deals, breaking their own policies and building a school in the middle of a dump site. Where is the accountability? Why isn’t anyone doing anything? This insanity will continue to happen until they are taken to task for everything they’ve done thus far.

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