A delegation of county school officials on Thursday brought the County Commission a new interlocal agreement that school board attorney Scott Bennett said was meant to address commission concerns that have work on the badly needed new East Brainerd Elementary School on hold.
However, commission members continued to air a number of concerns with school officials.
Only Commissioner Fred Skillern said he would vote for the new agreement, which sets up a new school fund to hold money from the sale of surplus school property. The money in the fund would be used only for new school needs.
The agreement also states that new school buildings would be titled in the name of the county schools. Some commissioners have wanted them titled in the name of the county.
Attorney Bennett said the schools have no problem with them being in both names, but he said that adds liability for the county. He said the county schools have more than enough insurance to cover any incident, and he noted that the insurance fund rebuilt one damaged school.
He said when the county's name is on the title "that doubles the liability and exposure."
Commissioner Tim Boyd said the commission's education committee has been "ineffective" and he proposed a new joint committee headed by the school superintendent with members from each body.
He said he has not been kept informed on numerous school building projects.
Commissioner Warren Mackey, who heads the education committee, acknowledged he has not been able to schedule a joint meeting. He said, "What do you do when you ask a woman for a date and she says no?"
Commissioner Joe Graham said he has concerns about the schools using proceeds from old schools "to go on a spending spree" rather than for new schools.
He said the money from the old schools ought to go toward paying off the principal on new schools.
Commissioner Greg Beck said the two groups should resume regular meetings - at least quarterly, saying that had worked well before.
Attorney Bennett said he believes in the past the school system has followed a practice of using the money from old schools for new schools.
He acknowledged that six of some 80 county school buildings are titled in the name of the county, including Birchwood School.
Attending the meeting also were school officials Rick Smith and Gary Waters and school board members Mike Evatt, Donna Horn, Joe Galloway and David Testerman.