The board was evenly split since board member Vicki Beaty was unable to attend. Board members David Kelley, Richard Baker and chairman Charlie Rose voted against the idea. Board members Troy Weathers, Rodney Dillard and Christy Critchfield voted in favor. The plan was not approved.
Setting aside money from capital outlay in a savings account for the future project was suggested by board member Troy Weathers at last week’s work session.
Weathers said making a similar decision for the BCHS Fine Arts Building allowed the school system to build the facility without requesting additional funding from the Commission.
“I don’t believe there is a board member here who would not like to see a science wing at Bradley High ... but we heard a report that we are facing triage when it comes to the budget and so many other needs that are out there,” board member David Kelley said.
Kelley said the school system needs to face more pressing needs before focusing on things it would like to do.
“When we talk about expansion and growth, that (a science wing) would be proactive for the growth that we are going to have,” Weathers said. “And you have to start planning today. I would never say let’s take $3 million dollars ... out of the budget and let’s go ahead and build that. ... I propose only $200,000 to start saving it so that one day we might be able to make something happen.”
Financial officer Rick Smith said this option was discussed at the capital outlay committee meeting. However, it was not included in the committee’s recommendation. Smith said the capital outlay recommendation was what they saw the needs were.
In the presentation of the capital outlay budget, Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said that needed repairs were larger than the money the school has to address them. Roofing and HVAC repairs were some of the largest repair projects in the budget.
Smith said if the board decided to pursue saving money it would need to be removed from one of the projects in the capital outlay plan.
The plan includes projects that have already been approved, such as asbestos abatement at Michigan Avenue Elementary and the FEMA grant match for construction at Walker Valley High School. The plan also includes money for each school to address pressing needs.
Timing was a key factor with those voting against it saying they would like to consider it again in the future.
After the vote on whether to start saving for the science wing, the board voted to approve the proposed capital outlay projects for the 2012-13 school year. The plan was approved unanimously. The plan lists projects totaling $3.2 million.
Also, during the meeting the school board approved the largest budget it has ever proposed.
“It’s the largest one we’ve ever had for general purpose,” Smith said.
Smith said the budget was nearly $73 million.
“This budget does reflect our commitment to our employees. We have proposed a 3 percent pay increase across the board for all our employees,” McDaniel said.
The school budget will be presented to the Bradley County Commission on May 21.