School board delays vehicle purchase

Published 12:59 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Facing an uncertain financial future, the Beaufort County Board of Education on Tuesday stuck with an earlier decision to delay the purchase of a new car for school-system employees to use.

The board opted not to reverse its decision last week to move an appropriation of $17,000 for the purchase from “recommended” to “considered,” meaning funding for a new car will not be available in the school’s 2011-2012 capital outlay budget.

“We don’t have nearly enough money in contingency,” said board member Terry Williams during a called meeting of the board at P.S. Jones Middle School on Tuesday morning. “We’re not close to where we need to be on contingency.”

Board member Cindy Winstead agreed.

“The car is something that can wait,” she said.

One board member said it’s time to begin replacing an aging fleet and that if Beaufort County Schools requires its employees to drive a system-owned vehicle, it should ensure that those vehicles are safe.

“We’re asking people to do a job, and we need to have decent transportation to let them do that,” said board member F. Mac Hodges.

The board was asked to reconsider its decision by BCS Superintendent Don Phipps, who made a presentation about BCS’s current fleet of nine vehicles that are used by teachers of home-bound students, employees who attend conferences, technology support staff and other school employees.

Board members instead asked Phipps to review BCS’s policy for reimbursing employees who choose to drive their cars instead of one of the school system’s fleet vehicles when such a vehicle is available.

Last week, the board approved its $1.5 million capital budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, an amount equal to the school’s construction budget for the current fiscal year.

The proposed capital budget includes some 51 construction projects.

Some of the costlier projects in the proposed capital budget include $200,000 for systemwide technology expenditures; $95,000 to replace the gymnasium and lobby roof at Bath Elementary School; $170,000 for installation of a drainage system to prevent standing water around Northeast Elementary School; $95,000 to replace an activity bus; and $63,400 to replace a heating-and-air conditioning system at Southside High School.

The board and the county commissioners are scheduled to meet Monday to review the school system’s spending plan.

In other business, the board:

  • Voted unanimously to extend a contract with Wilson Cleaning for three months for cleaning of the school system’s central-services building and seek competitive bids for the cleaning contract beginning Aug. 1.
  • Voted unanimously to reappoint Myrtle Carowan to the Beaufort County Community College Board of Trustees.

All board members attended the meeting.