LFMS overrun forces board to adjust budget

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Posted 8/10/18

The Bradley County Board of Education on Thursday approved a current-year budget amendment made necessary by some unexpected expenses at Lake Forest Middle School. The school system has been …

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LFMS overrun forces board to adjust budget

FOURTH DISTRICT Bradley County Board of Education member Dianna Calfee, right, is thanked by Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash during Thursday's board meeting. It was her final meeting following her loss in the Aug. 1 election.
FOURTH DISTRICT Bradley County Board of Education member Dianna Calfee, right, is thanked by Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash during Thursday's board meeting. It was her final meeting following her loss in the Aug. 1 election.
Banner photo, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Posted

The Bradley County Board of Education on Thursday approved a current-year budget amendment made necessary by some unexpected expenses at Lake Forest Middle School. 

The school system has been overseeing the construction of a new two-story academic building at Lake Forest. Much of the major work took place this summer, including the demolition of existing pod-style classroom buildings nearby and the creation of a new parking lot in their place. In the process, additional costs surfaced. 

“We would have otherwise been under budget, but for those soil and utility-related issues,” said Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash.

It wasn’t until the existing buildings were demolished that workers found soil conditions were poor. Finance Director Susan Willcutt said the land had to be “built up” before the new parking lot and driveways could be poured, and that alone added some $200,000 to the project. 

Other unexpected utility expenses also added to the cost, eating away at both the project’s contingency budget and money which had been set aside for extras such as sidewalk awnings and library shelves. 

Cash asked the board to move $400,000 from the 2018-19 General Purpose Undesignated Fund to the fund for the Lake Forest project. This will account for the unexpected expenses and add funds for the awnings and shelves. 

Willcutt noted that the district had no choice but to go ahead and cover the unexpected expenses, even though there was a danger it could things like the awning installation. 

“When they got down in it, it did not meet code,” Willcutt said. “In order to get a certificate of occupancy … we needed this fixed.” 

Board member Dianna Calfee asked whether the engineers helping determine the possible cost of the project had done all the core drilling they needed to do. She said she believed a “negotiation” should be made to ensure the board does not have to foot the entire cost for what she felt could have been an oversight. Other board members indicated they agreed this matter should be explored further. 

The board voted 6-0 to approve the budget amendment and have Cash inquire about a possible cost adjustment. Board chairman Rodney Dillard was absent. 

The board also voted 6-0 to approve a budget amendment related to the purchase of land adjacent to Hopewell Elementary School. This piece of land could eventually be used to help alleviate traffic issues near the school.

This amendment involved moving $100,000 to a different budget line item to be paid all at once  to Volunteer Energy Corporation for the piece of land. The board had previously approved this purchase, but the original plan had been to make four payments of $25,000. 

The board also said goodbye to one of its own Thursday — Calfee, who lost her bid for re-election to her 4th District seat on Aug. 1. 

Cash and other members of the board thanked Calfee for her four years of service to the school board, and Cash presented her with a plaque in appreciation of her service. 

New board member Troy Weathers is expected to be sworn in during the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 5:30 p.m. 


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