Board setsdistrict lines

LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Board of Education on Monday approved a new district map for the county’s two middle schools.

The district line bisects the northern part of the county east of Snead’s Grove road and the southern part of the county northwest of Barnes Bridge Road and along Hasty and Turnpike roads. Students living west of that line will attend Carver Middle School, and students living east will attend Spring Hill Middle School.

Within Laurinburg’s city limits, most students living south of Hasty Road will attend Carver, as will those between Main Street and the Eat Laurinburg municipal limit. Most students north of Railroad Street are in the Carver district, except for those between McGirt’s Bridge Road and U.S. 401.

This year, 643 students will attend Carver — including 60 sixth graders accepted to the school’s new STEM magnet program — and 658 have been assigned to Spring Hill.

Parents can look up their child’s middle school assignment on the Scotland County Schools webpage at by clicking “Departments,” then “Transportation,” then “WebQuery” and entering their home address.

Also on Monday, the board voted to accept the gift of a 25-by-38 foot video scoreboard from the Scotland County Athletic Booster Club, which will be installed at Pate Stadium.

“We’re talking about a full video board like you see in a college atmosphere, improved fan experience: without a doubt we have one of the best Friday night experiences in the south, and this right here would just enhance it,” said booster club president Scott Cole.

“The board of the Booster Club feels that this is just a win-win proposition for everybody involved.”

Cole said that advertising on or near the scoreboard could net the school’s athletic program as much as $302,000 over the next 10 years. The booster club will pay the entire cost to purchase and install the board, with the school system taking over all maintenance costs after installation.

The board also heard from Superintendent Ron Hargrave, who said that the continuing resolution currently funding North Carolina schools while they await a final state budget is not promising with respect to teacher assistants.

That resolution includes $25 million in cuts to teacher assistants statewide, necessitating an additional $130,000 locally to keep teacher assistants employed at 80 percent of salary. Hargrave said that the following year, that statewide cut will quadruple.

“I’m really fearful of what seems to be the attack on TAs,” he said. “I said when I first came here that they seemed to be the lightning rod, they seemed to be the low fruit on the tree. Some of the language is to give us more teachers, but give us less TAs. In the grand scheme of things, having more teachers would be a good thing, but then that means you’ve got to spread your kids out. … That’s not the ultimate answer, because TAs play an important role in those classrooms.”

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.

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