01/11/06 — Schools reluctantly approve consultants

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Schools reluctantly approve consultants

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 11, 2006 1:52 PM

The school board voted, albeit reluctantly, to support a consultant hired by the county commissioners to conduct a financial and facilities review for the school system.

"As unnecessary as I believe it to be, I move that we approve the proposal," said board member George Moye, adding, "I don't think we have any choice."

"As unnecessary as I think it is, I second it," board member Pete Gurley said.

Board member Shirley Sims said she had met with representatives from Evergreen Solutions last week as part of the individual interview process. And while they were a "very fine group, very qualified," she expressed some apprehension about spending money on the service.

"I think they can do the job, but I don't have $120,000 for someone to tell you something that you already know. But if that's the only way that we can get some funds to change the situation that we're in, then I will support it if it's the only way that we can get some money," she said.

Gurley said he feels like it is a waste of taxpayers' money to support the $120,000 the county commissioners earmarked for the consulting firm "to tell us something that we already know. No one better than our staff or the Board of Education or the people of this county can tell us what our needs are."

Board member Rick Pridgen said this issue more than any other has prompted calls from the public. He said he agreed with his fellow board members' concerns, but felt their protests were in vain.

"The way it's been explained to me, they have already been hired, they're already going to do their thing. We can participate or not, but they're still going to do it," he said.

Gurley speculated on what he said was one interesting irony in the whole proposal process.

"(Commissioners) had $120,000 budgeted to do this but yet they had no money that they could give us to help us fund our teacher supplements," he said.