School Buildings Update

Within the host of activity in the legislature, there has been some “progress” made on disposition of school buildings. You will not find tv or print coverage of anyone on this subject because they were not there. Tuesday night, our facilities ad hoc committee met to discuss recommendations on buildings. This committee has 3 members, Raphael McInnis, Patrice Robinson, and David Reaves. We are the only three that can move a suggestion out of committee although other board members can come. Martavious was there(he had just gotten back from Nashville), Reginald Porter from Whitehaven, and Kevin Woods from District 4. Vanecia Kimbrough was there as well. I was the only pro-municipal/ anti consolidation person in the room. However, I have to say that some interesting things came out of this meeting:

1) We recommended a resolution pledging our intent  to work with the municipalities if they decide to create their own district.

2) We all agreed that instances where a property was not surplus that we could lease by cooperative agreement as long as the lease was tied to municipalities educating the county kids in the feeder pattern.

3) I did not agree with the concept of leasing all buildings regardless if they were surplus or not. So I proposed an agreement that any buildings that became surplus as a result of a municipal district that those buildings would have title conveyed to the municipality. I got support on the idea from Kimbrough and Freda Williams on the idea. Kevin Woods did not like the idea of the municipality being able to dispose of these buildings for reasons other than education so we included possible language to put a restriction on the deed that if a municipality dropped its charter or tried to sell the building for reasons other than education that the title would revert back to the county.

4) My last idea was straight out of the playbook of how we have handled annexation in the past. I asked that if an agreement was feasible to title all of the buildings to the municipal governments in exchange for forfeiture of future ADA capital dollars. In short, every time the county builds buildings it must pay a portion to each school district in the county for future capital needs. In this scenario, millions of future dollars will be forfeit if we just signed over the buildings, no tax restrictions, and allowed the cities to educate their own kids. 

With all of that said, I see the following discussion developing around:

1) All buildings declared surplus as a result of a municipal school district, will be deeded to the new school district and a title restriction with how the property will be conveyed in the future.

2) All buildings that are not declared surplus and have both unincorp and muni children will be conveyed via long-term lease and will continue for as long as the district educates the county children. As soon as they quit educating all children, the lease terminates and goes back to the county.

3) How do we leverage ADA capital dollars as part of the solution long-term?

Interesting and telling going forward. Stay tuned…

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