05/03/06 — Consultant's report delayed ... again

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Consultant's report delayed ... again

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on May 3, 2006 1:54 PM

Wayne County and school board officials will have to wait until at least May 16 for a school facilities report that was scheduled to be completed April 1.

Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said he talked with Dr. Linda Recio, president of Evergreen Solutions, and she told him the consulting firm could not finish the report because the school board had not yet turned in its five-year facility plan.

Wayne County Schools public information officer Ken Derksen said last week that he, the staff and the school board were unaware of any information that was not provided to Evergreen Solutions.

On Tuesday, Derksen again said the school board has turned in all information requested by the consultant.

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners hired the Florida company for $120,000 to analyze the county's school facilities needs. Once the report is complete and presented to county and school officials, the boards plan to hold joint meetings to discuss the results and decide the school board's budget.

By state law, the school board can't present its budget to the commissioners until May 15. Smith said the joint meetings will begin after receiving the report, so the commissioners can have the county budget prepared before the July 1 deadline.

The missing link to receiving the report is the five-year facility plan from the school board, Smith said. Assistant superintendent for auxiliary services Sprunt Hill, who is in charge of the school facilities projects and maintenance for the school district, said the school board was not informed that the plan was a requirement to complete the study.

"When the process began, I was in contact with Evergreen, and I thought we'd handed in every piece of paper multiple times," Hill said.

Hill said the school board provided the facilities plan and other documents through the mail and electronically. He added the school board also submitted the entire facilities plan to the commissioners.

"The information is there, but it has to be put in the format of the Evergreen report," he said.

The school board's current facilities plan is separated into three sections of priorities for the next 20 years, Hill said. The first includes needs for the next five years. The second has needs for years six through 10, and the last covers the remaining decade.

Evergreen Solutions is only interested in facility improvements, such as constructing new facilities, innovations and additions, over the next five years, Hill said. He added that the five-year plan would be "a stand-alone document" that is not directly connected to the other work Evergreen Solutions is conducting.

Hill said the school board would need to prioritize the next five years of improvements into a format acceptable to Evergreen Solutions. The board will prioritize the list during an upcoming work session and vote on the matter during the next meeting.

Although the next meeting is scheduled for June, Hill said the board could call an emergency session to vote on the plan.