Lincoln board debates how to finance expansion of middle school

May 14, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - If we build it, they will come, but who picks up the tab, Lincoln County Board of Education members asked Thursday.

With plans for a middle school expansion project being amended and supported now by both the board and the district facilities planning committee, one of the only questions left is where the money will come from.

The $2.97 million estimated cost of a basic 22,000 square foot addition, to stem overcrowding at local elementaries, would be partially covered by the state but would leave the county with a substantial bill.

In addition to a technology education room and alternate access routes, the planning committee recommended a new gym be built, but the state said the current facility is adequate and declined to cover the cost.


The added burden of a new physical education facility might have to come from the general fund. It is an option some board members were reluctant to consider.

"Even if I was for the plan, I would never vote to use general fund money, as far as construction, because that money is not meant for that," said board member Randy McGuffey. He has opposed the plan in the past in part because it would close Kings Mountain Memorial Elementary after construction is complete.

Board Chairman Jim Kelley said he also has reservations in jeopardizing the general fund, which covers such expenses as staff payrolls.

"I would like the state to clarify on where the money's going to come from," said Kelley.

Between the building fund and the capital outlay fund, there is enough to cover the expense of an addition, "but if we include a gym in here, we've spent it all," said Kelley.

McGuffey is also worried the $40,000-plus the board still owes on Kings Mountain's heating and air conditioning unit could become a financial liability.

Superintendent Teresa Wallace said she could reconfirm the facts but believes the payments on the system will continue as scheduled and not be rushed if the building at Kings Mountain is sold.

The board decided to postpone the project's approval until the state provides clarifications.

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