Schools to eye capital outlay policies
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Nov 20, 2012 | 898 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley County Board of Education member Chris Turner will chair a committee to consider current policies and procedures pertaining to capital outlay expenditures.

Board Chairman Charlie Rose appointed Turner, Christy Critchfield and Nicholas Lillios to the committee Monday during a special meeting. The committee was approved by a 5-0 vote. Turner, Nicholas Lillios, Troy Weathers, Vicki Beaty and Rose were present and voted in favor of the motion. Rodney Dillard and Christy Critchfield were absent.

Turner said he asked Rose to establish a committee to consider clarifying the capital outlay policy shortly after joining the school board in September. He said the school board has done nothing inappropriate, but it could make better decisions if it were provided better information.

“In the August meeting, prior to my joining the board, a project was submitted for replacing the phone systems in the entire system,” he said. “It was an amended capital outlay. After the board voted unanimously to support that capital project, a question was asked to the board: What will happen to the existing assets?”

When does the project start? When does the project finish? Those were all questions asked after the project received board approval, he said.

“These are information pieces that should be part of the consideration of the board in any capital outlay, whether it is $10,000 or $10 million,” Turner said. “There should be a framework of information presented to the board that is consistent for all capital projects. That’s what good governance looks like. We don’t have that and I’m just simply suggesting we add that as a policy.”

Turner asked for advisory input from the community.

“This (school) board is not a specialist in capital outlay, in executive leadership and governance structures,” he said. “I think firmly that we need to add expertise to the conversation. I encourage other folks to participate so we can leverage those resources from our community and improve the way this board makes decisions.”

During his opening remarks, Rose apologized to the board for the inconvenience of the called meeting, but he said he felt it was necessary to correct his parliamentary error of appointing the committee without board approval.

“I regret any inconvenience to any board member in attendance and to any board member who isn’t here because of work or personal obligations which, understandably, could not be rearranged,” he said. “We’ve discussed this in a couple of board meetings and because of my error, it was going to be delayed some more and I just wanted to call a meeting to see if we could get it off the ground, if the board so desires. If we can’t, that would be OK also.”

Vicki Beaty made the motion that would allow the chairman to appoint a capital outlay committee to review policy and procedure, and to make recommendations back to the full board for consideration. The committee may consult with community and school leaders in an advisory and informational capacity and all meetings will be open to the public.

Former board chairman Troy Weathers objected to the meeting as unnecessary and objected to the motion because Critchfield and Dillard were unable to rearrange their schedules. In essence, their absence disenfranchised thousands of voters, he said.

“I missed a funeral today, mister chairman, because of this board meeting,” Weathers said.