08/13/06 — County, school officials to meet

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County, school officials to meet

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 13, 2006 2:09 AM

Representatives from the Wayne County's commission and the county's Board of Education will have their first meeting this week to discuss what to do about school facilities -- and how to pay for the work.

The first meeting of the committee charged with determining the county schools' facilities' needs is set for Tuesday.

The facilities master plan team was created on the recommendation of Evergreen Solutions, the consulting firm hired by the Wayne County Commission to determine construction and renovation project needs for the school system. The study came on the heels of months of debate concerning what the district actually needs for facilities and operating expenses -- and how much the county can afford to provide.

The two boards met with Evergreen representatives in May to discuss the consultants' report. After that meeting, the boards determined they would appoint members to a steering committee to discuss not only facilities needs and the findings of the report, but the possibility of asking for a bond referendum to finance some of the work.

At its July 10 meeting, the Board of Education named members to serve on the master plan committee, and said they were anxious to begin meeting.

The county also appointed its members to serve.

The master plan team includes, from the county school system, Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor; Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for accountability; Sprunt Hill, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services; and board members Pete Gurley, George Moye and Lehman Smith.

Representing the county will be County Manager Lee Smith and commissioners Atlas Price, John Bell and Jack Best.

But that is where the joint meetings ended.

A full meeting of the group was stalled because of conflicting schedules.

County officials said there were many attempts to get both boards together after the Board of Education appointed its committee members and before Smith began a pre-arranged medical leave, but the groups could not find a time that would work for all those involved.

The only day both boards could agree to meet was the day Smith was scheduled to have neck surgery, and he would not have been able to attend.

Smith and Taylor have met multiple times to discuss the school funding and facilities issues.