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Board approves $20,000 loan for field house
by Reggie Ross, Staff Writer
Jan 20, 2014 | 95 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NORTH CARROLLTON -- To spend or not to spend was the question at the latest Carroll County School Board of Trustees.

The school board voted in favor, after a 3-2 vote, to use a $20,000 loan of 16th Section Funds to complete the J.Z. George Athletic Field House.

Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson asked the board to approve the loan for the completion process, which consisted of painting, interior doors, stairs, lockers, cabinets and lighting. After a lengthy discussion, mostly to the dismay of board member Kenneth Deloach, the board approved a loan following a motion by Rubye Miller and a second from Daniel Vest. Board President Laura Davis sealed the approval with a yes vote. New board member Donnie Wiltshire, a former J.Z. George coach, and Deloach voted against the action.

Deloach argued that the $179,000, approved by the board last year, was all that was needed in the construction of the building.

"That $179,000 was all you needed, you made that statement," Deloach said. "You'll never pay for it. I mean, when are we going to start educating the children of Carroll County?"

Deloach told the board if spending continued, Carroll County would meet the same fate as the Leflore County School District, which led to a state takeover.

The 120 x 40 field house will be used by both the high school and junior high football teams, for things such as weight lifting, a coach's office and an area for visiting football teams during the four month season.

Ferguson informed the board that over $20,000 of that money was used for needed upgrades at Marshall Elementary.

"We had a metal roof put on Marshall and the other $141,000 went on the construction of the field house," Ferguson said. "We spent $141,000 on the field house."

Ferguson also got a spending scenario from baseball head coach and assistant football coach Mark Austin, whose baseball players will also use the weight room.

"Coaches have agreed to do painting and other things that will save the district around $12,000," Austin said.

Ferguson gave a break down to both Vest and Wiltshire on how 16th Section Funds work and called them, "a gift from the Lord that the Carroll County School District has them."

"We have sources, like timber, go in interest funds," Ferguson said. "We get $50,000 every three months in gravel.

We have millions of dollars. It's a gift from heaven because Carroll County is one of only a few school districts that have this."

Ferguson said told the board members that the law says it can be used only for construction and purchasing school buses. He said the monies have to be paid back with 4 percent interest

"We have 20 years to pay it back, so we can borrow $20,000 and pay it back at $1,000 a year," Ferguson said. "When it is put back into the account with interest, then we can move the interest back to the interest fund."

Ferguson said following the meeting that after being cut by the state $589,000, they know before school starts funds will be tough to come by.

"When you're cut like that by the state, we can't operate," Ferguson said.

According to Austin, there were 18 lockers in the current field house, and there were 43 players that dressed out for the past football season.

Davis remains

president

At the start of the meeting, the board voted unanimously that the current officers would remain seated. Davis remains as president of the board while Deloach stays as vice president. Miller remains as secretary.

After a Miller motion and a Deloach second the board of trustees also voted to keep Lori Bell as board attorney.

Legal action for any vandalism

Wiltshire would make it clear if school property is damaged, that person will pay the consequences.

Wiltshire asked Ferguson and Bell whether restitution had been made on a recent break-in at J.Z. George by a juvenile. Bell said because the assailant was a juvenile it could not be discussed.

"It has been dealt with," Bell said.

J.Z. George Principal Joey Carpenter said there was not any substantial monetary damage in the incident. Davis repeated that she has asked to be notified whenever anything unusual happens in the district, such as a break-in.
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