Board Members make promises for improved safety in schools

Contracts for EC psychologists renewed

CARTHAGE – The Moore County Board of Education met Monday, June 13 for a brief meeting where they approved contracts for psychological services and insurance plans as well as made strong promises about the safety of Moore County Schools.

The board approved the contract for two psychologists to provide exceptional educational psychological services for the 2022-23 school year. For both positions, the total cost will be $129,600 which will come from ESSER funds. 

“The positions are for EC student psychological testing that is required by law,” said Interim Executive Officer for Academics and Student Support Services Dr. Seth Powers.

The psychologists are both past employees of Moore County Schools and have worked in these roles previously. One psychologist will be assigned to Robbins Elementary School and perform all of the bilingual evaluations for the district while the other will be assigned to Southern Pines Elementary School and provide additional testing as needed throughout the district. Both will perform extra evaluations around the district as needed.

The board then approved five separate insurance lines as part of their required risk management coverage plans and all for one year policies.

Moore County Schools’ bid for risk management coverage plans had only received two offers with neither providing all of the services that the board requires. As such, they went through and chose plans for the different types of insurance needed from the two bidding companies.

For property coverage, the board approved staying with the North Carolina Department of Insurance at a premium of $139,190 on $509 million worth in property. For automobile and inland marine coverage, the board approved moving to Utica National Insurance Group which Surry Insurance is the broker for, at a premium of $61,368. For workers comp coverage, the board approved staying with Employers Mutual Casualty Company which Surry Insurance is the broker for, at a premium of $202,586. For general liability, the board approved staying with the NC School Board Trust at a premium of $48,558. And for cyber security, the board approved staying with ACE American Insurance which Surry Insurance is the broker for, at a premium of $40,000.

The total cost for insurance was $517,933 which is a 5.3% decrease in total cost compared to last year. 

Even though the total cost was less than the previous year, Moore County Schools did try to look for better plans, but due to the limited bids received, their options were limited.

“We had a question around the general liability coverage,” said Executive Officer for Budget and Finance Andrew Cox. “I did reach out to our new counsel (RRA Risk Management Consultants) and had a conversation with the concern there being pricing primarily. I reached out to the broker and at this time, staying with the school board trust is the best proposal we have.”

Following the action items, two of the board members – Philip Holmes and David Hensley – made comments to address concerns involving the safety of Moore County Schools.

“I’ve been receiving calls and emails about the law enforcement and questions of what we are doing and I promise you, we’re doing everything we can,” Holmes said. “We’ve got the motions, we’re strengthening our policies and we’re making sure our officers are well apt. Everything is moving forward in a positive direction, just know that.” 

Following Holmes’ comments, Hensley followed suit. 

“We discussed school safety back in March and some not so good things were revealed,” Hensley said. “In last week’s work session, this board covered Chief Hardy’s plan to overcome those deficiencies and our SROs are going to be working very hard over the summer to get up to speed so they can perform their primary mission. The items that were discussed in last week’s work session are just the beginning. Our goal, Moore County Schools when the dust is settled, is going to have the best trained, the best equipped and the most professional school resource officers in this country. Everyone in Moore County can rest assured that we’re going to do that.” 

The Moore County Board of Education will next meet July 11.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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