08/22/12 — Keen asks for school spending plans

View Archive

Keen asks for school spending plans

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 22, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne County Commissioner Steve Keen said Tuesday morning that he was "not calling out" the Wayne County Board of Education, but that he wanted the board to set down on paper how it planned to distribute a $130,000 windfall for classroom supplies that commissioners got from the ABC board.

Keen was referring to a recent News-Argus editorial that took him to task for comments appearing to imply that the school board should be quicker to reply to a request for a joint meeting in light of almost a quarter of a million dollars in additional school funding.

At the board's Aug. 7 session Keen said that he was disappointed the school board did not set a date for the meeting at its Aug. 6 session. He has pushed for the meeting to discuss the school's facilities plan and county funding of the schools.

At that meeting Keen said the county could have spent that money anywhere in the county, but had chosen to spend it in education.

A budget amendment to appropriate those funds was included in the board's consent agenda Tuesday morning.

"Is it necessary to get some clarity from the school board to make sure those funds go into each classroom?" Keen said. "I think the discussion was an estimated 1,200 classrooms. This would put $100 in each classroom if my math is right -- somewhere thereabouts. We are giving the money to them for distribution and it is their call. And (News-Argus reporter) Steve (Herring), I am not calling them out, so please if you would... I am just asking questions again.

"The teachers do need those funds in the classroom and that was a big part of my promoting and advocating for them, for these funds to go into each classroom. So is there maybe a way we could request that information?"

Smith said he already had spoken with schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Taylor.

He said that Taylor will talk to his staff on how the money will be distributed and report back to the county.

"Then we will transfer those funds to the school board," Smith said. "I think it is just wise for us to have that in writing as to how it will be distributed and to get it back to you guys so if you are asked how it is done."

Keen then made a motion to approve the consent agenda. The motion was unanimously approved.